Lately I haven’t had many visitors to my site, which makes sense since I am not posting very often. And many of them who do come are looking to read my post on chin hairs. It seems that many many many women the world over are suffering from midlife beards. Oy. But yesterday someone came to the site who was reading post after post on abuse. Which lead me to go to a blog on spousal abuse—something that I haven’t done for a very long time. The post I read there was about how this woman had finally left her husband after he had repeatedly been dismissive of her. I read the “straw breaking the back” post. And that brought me to a deep sense of thankfulness and almost forgetfulness that that was my life in the not-too-distant past, which, thankfully, has no relation to my life in the present.
People say that women have children after their first child only because they forget how painful childbirth is. Regarding relationships after emotional and verbal abuse: you can only have a relationship if you remember the pain—but don’t keep the pain itself alive.
So here I am, 19 months in my rented apartment, 19 months after the house was finally sold, and 19 months since I lived in the same house as the man who tormented me. It is also six months since a friend from the past kindled a spark that lead to love that lead to almost three months of our living together. Three months of creating a relationship that is based on love, respect, concern, admiration, and, alright, quite a tinge of mutual attraction. Not only didn’t I think that I could be in a normal relationship after my marriage, but from the pit of despair I would hear of fairy tale endings and proclaim: “How lovely, but I know that will never be me.”
As I read the woman’s post, I found myself unable to empathize with her—it was a sad story and I was glad to read that she had overcome so much pressure (internal and external) to be her own life-saver. But letting myself sink into the details, and read past posts, and imagine what her life must have been like—and what it was at that moment—no, I didn’t go there. I couldn’t.
Perhaps I have some version of PTSD, where to relive, in any way, past horrors brings to the fore the accompanying anguish and sense of self-loss.
I didn’t feel good that I couldn’t send vibes of compassion out to this woman, that I could merely observe where she was and cheer it, but it felt safe to look from the distance—from my fortress.
What can I say? I was abused, but it is over—it is a part of my past. Since then I have created layers of life and self that do not depend on that reality: that are independent of it. Since then I have other things, such as chin hairs, to worry about. And now I have a man by my side for whom I pluck those hairs, even if he would never comment on them in anything but an endearing way.
My my life, indeed, can be wondrous, even if once it was so very arduous.
To that blogger: May your life and all those who you wish in it sustain you and keep you fulfilled.