one warm summer night, I’ll hear fireworks outside / and I’ll listen to the memories as they cry, cry, cry

Today marks three years from the day my husband left me for another woman.

I opened the tabs to link to my last few July 4 posts. I read them, and I read the last couple weeks of our marriage (they occurred over gmail chat since I was on complete vocal rest post-surgery….and I only put it together today that that’s why I’m so much less comfortable with that than I am texting).

This year, I didn’t have any flashbacks. I didn’t even have nightmares. I was going to do a post about how far I’ve come, but, oh, I don’t know, they don’t seem that relevant anymore. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

The long gmail chat (which I have as a private post, because even I’m not that gross) was interesting. On the one hand, it validates why I really didn’t think he’d leave. I asked him directly within an hour of the time he left if he was cheating, and he said no. Then, I asked him if he was cheating in any way that I would consider cheating. Again, no.

On the other hand…how am I supposed to trust and believe when the person I’ve known the most intimately in my life, my partner of 19 years, can tell such huge lies? How am I supposed to convince myself that what feels like intuition is just anxiety and wounds when I have such a record of blurting random fears and accusations that were true, but he convinced me to do everything I could to override my gut feeling?

Especially when I see what an idiot I’ve been, basically being anorexic when it comes to love, living on scraps of affection given to me at a guy’s convenience.

I don’t have any answer to that. I will say that I’m coping with my current condition–being rather burnt out after surviving the last few years, and not as happy as I will be–by moving toward what feels good. I’m not talking about sex, or even the company of men. I’m just, whenever faced with a decision, going with whatever makes me feel good (or, at least, less bad). I’m also giving myself permission to pursue anything that interests me–no matter how cheesy–as long as it’s not expensive. If I want to learn how to do makeup, fine, just don’t do Bobby Brown makeup. If I want to spend my free time reading journal articles on random subjects, join a unitarian church, jog, or even pray to saints in whom I don’t believe while burning palo santo, I’m giving myself permission to do it without questioning its ridiculousness or feeling abashed about it.

I’ve never had any feeling about the 4th, but I took my kid to a free concert in a park (my friends’ symphonic band) with fireworks because she wanted to go, and I remember how incredible fireworks were to me when I was young. It was her first time seeing them. I’m obviously not patriotic at all (I quietly refuse to say the pledge because it’s creepy), but when my daughter wanted to sing along to “God Bless America” because she was proud that she knew the words from school, I joined in. I told her what independence day was, and I told her I’m not really into the meaning, but I like to celebrate, and anything is a good excuse to have color-themed fun.

I also realize I’m not a robot at events when I’m with her, because I’m aware that I’m modeling for her.

The last thing I want is for me to disappoint her or deflate her enthusiasm just because I’m old and “over” things. She needs to get there on her own schedule. Now, she’s a 5 year old child.

I’m learning much more from her than she is from me.

So, this (forced?) independence day, instead of doing a whine-tacular lookback that retells the story of my abandonment for the millionth time, I’m drinking prosecco in Wonder Woman underoos and feeling chuffed at fuck because I know the worst is well behind me, and I do have some faith that this is going somewhere good because I like myself so much more than I did three years ago.

I hope that next 4th of July, I’ll make a toast to making my head independent from my asshole. Today, I’ll accept that my head is up my ass, and I’ll be open to ways to not have my head up my ass, even if they’re things about which I’m jaded.

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