I didn't know I could hurt that bad and not die from it
I was reminded of the song by Paul McCartney, "Too Much Rain," which was the first song I bought on Itunes, and I still remember how I felt as I lived the pain I had to deal with.
Often I find it difficult to write, and to distance myself from the emotional intensity that has been my life. I don't want to ignore it, and I surely can't honestly say I'm past it all. I'm not. On the other hand, when I reflect, I know there are ways that I've moved on, moved forward, and that I'm now different, or, in a different place, than I was at certain points along the way.
Where my journals used to show the constant drain of hurt, now I honestly write about some other things than being alone, not knowing what I was going to do, and wondering why, why why this happened to me.
You may ask, "What changes have you made that helped?"
First, I had a good counselor - and that was after trying 3, but the fourth was a good one!
Second - I faced the reality that I couldn't live with having a gay husband. I WANTED things to be different, but the REALITY was that my husband was a closeted gay man. He couldn't be someone he'd tried to be, and now I knew the truth. I'd rather have the truth than continue in a falsehood.
From here the order gets blurry - but I started finding other people who were affirming, and could understand the situation that was my life. I confided in a few close friends who were non-judgmental, and looked for new friends. I visited churches that were and are affirming, where I could look around and see role models of loving relationships. I talked to the minister, who was understanding of both Ray and myself. He was supportive and kind, and it felt good to hear this support from a non-judging Christian minister.
One very difficult part was holding up my head and knowing that I had nothing to be ashamed of. I was fairly well-known in my community, as was Ray. In spite of this, I had to go grocery shopping, go to local functions (like the Covered Bridge Festival, or the Hamilton Twp. Hog Roast) where I knew others were watching me. I put on my best smile, and I went anyway. It hasn't been easy, but like they say, "one day at a time..."
I rediscovered some of my favorite things, like sewing. I've made several quilts, sewn clothing for my granddaughters, and given away hand-made gifts. I realized how much I enjoy putting together the textures and colors of so many fabrics, and I get a lot of pleasure from the finished products. I filled up a whole room (emptied of kids and a husband) to gather ALL my sewing equipment and supplies, and turned it into a sewing room! That's something I always meant to do, and now it's done!
Some things I didn't want to change, like staying in my own home. For as long as I could, I delayed and avoided any too-quick-decisions. Because of a vacation home that we owned, I tried spending time there, away from the community I knew best. However, I missed my kids, my hometown, and my long-time friends. Because of all those reasons and more (especially financial) I made the decision to offer that home for sale, a difficult decision.
As many things as I could, I maintained the same. One thing that was in my best interest was that I keep up with Ray's website. I kept on with product orders and delivery, e-mails, licensing, and office necessities. This meant I had to dedicate space and time to doing a job where I was relatively anonymous, something that is not like me at all. I've always lived openly, without any disguise.
Last fall I went back to teaching, even if it was only substituting for a few days a week. (My degree was in Special Ed., 1977, yet I've worked in business since then.) Now I'm pursuing a job that will be more regular - timewise and for budgeting!
And through everything, each day I had to deal with my faith: What did I still believe? What changes had occurred? And...where do I fit in at church? All these things were broken down and had to be reframed, if not re-built. It's been a process, but I still believe that God has a plan/purpose for what I've experienced.
So these days, since it's been 5 whole years (!) I can say to this fellow spouse, "I know where you've been, but things will get better." It may happen suddenly, or it may take years. For me, connecting with others helps TREMENDOUSLY, and since I'm a social person, I love hearing from others.
Summing it all up, here are my suggestions. Do things that are for yourself, in your best interests, and hold your head up. Support others. Don't stay closeted! Be supportive of others! And cry all you damn well please!
Here's Paul McCartney's song, "Too much rain."
Laugh when your eyes are burning...
Smile when your heart is filled with pain.