If I could do today over, I wouldn’t.
Here’s a life lesson for you, so mark this down and take it to heart: never, never, never mess around with a married man. Even if his wife tells him she would rather have aborted their children than be married to him, even if he starts sleeping on the couch, even if he promises that a divorce is well on its way, even if he’s already started moving his things out of the house, even if he’s talking to land lords about moving closer to work, even if he’s really good looking and a total charmer — no bueno. If there’s anything shiny on that left hand, walk away. Better yet, run away.
The thing of it is, people lie. They lie to people they care about, people they hate, people they don’t even know. They lie to themselves. Sometimes they think they’re telling the truth at the time, but in hindsight it was clearly and always a lie.
What I’m trying to say here is, nobody is ever entirely blameless. I shouldn’t have flirted. He shouldn’t have pursued me after I walked away. She shouldn’t treat her husband like a yard dog.
But, it’s whatever. We’re moving on.
I moved in with my mom yesterday. It’s a relief, really, to be around people again. Being alone too much really took its toll on my senses (obviously). My parents are chill about it so far, which is great and a huge relief. I’m back to doing dishes after dinner and holing up in a room by myself most of the day. In a way it feels something like being a teenager again, and I’m completely fine with that at this stage in my life. Maybe it sounds weird, but there’s something innately comforting about opening up the fridge or the cupboard and seeing so much food. If there’s one thing that’s always been true about my mom, it’s that she’s got enough food stored away to feed a legion.
No, you know what? We’re not moving on. We’re backing up.
Let’s get a few things straightened out, hm?
First, I left Spike because he was toxic. There’s only so much negativity, hatred, and anger I can tolerate without becoming the same. My life with him amounted to waiting for the next fight. People said, oh, you should have stuck with counseling. You should have given him a better chance. No. It takes two people to make a marriage work, but it only takes one to decide not to keep trying to breathe life into something that’s been dead for too long.
Furthermore, I love my son. I have him three days a week, and during those three days I am the best mother I can be. The other four days of the week, he’s with his father. That’s part of a divorce: going days without seeing your children. Those other four days, I am me. Completely, utterly, and irrevocably me. That’s my time to live. But on those days when I do have him, I’m a mother. Through and through. My personal life never effects my ability to love my son.
Most of all, I’m not a bad or worthless person. Sure, I make mistakes. Sometimes, especially lately, they end up being big ones. Well-intentioned big ones, sure, but good intentions or no the mess is always there. And sure, there are casualties, innocent bystanders that get caught up in the wake of my blunder. I’m not saying I’m a perfect person, and you’ll never hear me claim to be a saint. But the bad things that I’ve done don’t define who I am. How I handle the mess, what I do with the knowledge I gain from the consequences of my actions, that defines me.
I can be cold. Oh, so very cold. My heart can simply turn to ice.
I can also be hot. Very, very hot. I can make your heart melt in the palm of my hand.
I can go from hot to cold in a moment’s space. That’s a bad thing about me, the one thing about myself I don’t care for.
What do I like about myself? Plenty of things.
I like that I’m confident, I like that I’m a little cocky. I like that I can be a dude about it. I like that I don’t take shit, that I can walk away from an argument without some overblown sense of pride tripping me up as I walk.
Look, I’m 21. I’m still young. Most people my age are spending their Fridays at the bar, or running drugs, or working on degrees, or just now thinking about having a family. I got married a few months after I graduated, moved to California with the Marine Corps, had a baby when I was barely 20. I’ve had a very different walk than most people, and all I’m trying to do is iron out the wrinkles while I’m still young enough to bounce back. That’s it, and that’s all.