Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesdays with Taryn~ Sometimes Happily Ever After Happens, AFTER... #TheEx #Life #History

The scariest thing for me in attending my class reunion was the possibility of facing my past. Not high school past, but my early twenties past, or more specifically someone from that time in my life.

I think I finally stopped holding my breath when I realized my ex-fiance wasn't coming. We met up a couple years after our class's graduation, when he started working at the assembly factory where I worked in pad printing. The irony was that he didn't remember me from school~at all~ but he seemed to have it bad for me from the moment we met and even once told me that he went home after that first day at work, lay in his bed and thought to himself, "That's the woman I'm going to marry someday." In fact, I believe he'd told his dad that.

Honestly, I'm not sure if anyone we went to school with even knew we had a relationship but for a fair few who also worked at the same place or those we occasionally ran into when we were out and about. We dated from 1995-1999, off and on, and we were engaged 3 times during those on again off again years.

His encouragement, along with his mom's, was the reason I went for my GED. They were my cheerleaders urging me to accomplish that goal for myself, especially when I had gone for the pre-test the year before but was told I needed to study before I could go for testing. I'd let it go because I had work and other things going on in my life that took precedence, but a return trip to the GED office revealed that my pre-test scores were so high, I could have gone for the test the first time around, so the woman I spoke with set me up for the upcoming tests. He was the one who took me to Frankfort and sat in the car for hours those weekends I had to go for testing.
It was a roller-coaster relationship that had a lot of good times, but also a lot of very sad, hard times that hurt us both on so many levels, I know. I was his "Pretty Eyes" and I felt loved for the majority of that relationship. Even when I didn't know if I loved him anymore and had broken up with him, he was there for me, trumping through 2 foot of snow, across town to get me a birthday present and bring it to me. We had fun together but I know I was also a lot younger and I'm sure I made life a living hell sometimes when I got moody or irritable. He tried to put up with me, even when I was the grumpiest grump grump under the sun. By the end, I sometimes think that he hated me though...after all we put each other through.

Our official, FINAL "ending" was a new beginning for both of us. He married someone else within a year of breaking things off with me, leaving me feeling a bit like Ally McBeal- Do you remember that moment when she realized that the reason her and Billy's relationship ended wasn't because he didn't want to get married, it was just that he didn't want to marry her?

That's how I felt....It shouldn't have hurt so badly after a year, but it came as a bit of a shock to realize that we'd spent years going back and forth over when we'd get married and then he married this other woman after he'd only been with her a year. Seeing him come through my line at the grocery store was hell too- seeing that wedding band on his finger- and still thinking in that deepest part of my heart that he was supposed to be mine for the rest of our lives. He had promised me his love forever and vowed that nothing anyone said would EVER change how he felt about me.

Where was our happily ever after? It was clear then, that any inkling of love he'd once held for me was gone or buried, when he wouldn't or couldn't even take off his sunglasses in the store and look me in the eye when he came through my line, which he did quite often in the afternoons. And every time he left, one of my fellow co-workers would give me a break from the register so I could go to the back storeroom and cry.

I was damaged for a while after that, emotionally, left with questions about who I was as a person if I wasn't with him? What my worth was, if I couldn't be what he wanted and needed? And how had it all ended so badly? I wasn't sure I was worthy of being loved by anyone after that, much as I wanted to be loved, I always felt lacking. My best wasn't good enough. Not for him and probably not for anyone else.

He had been supportive of my dream to become a writer and I was doing a writing workshop as our relationship began to implode upon itself. I had believed I was on the path I was meant to be on in my journey to becoming a published author, but then he pulled the rug out from under me, when other people started questioning him about how we'd survive if we got married when I was such a dreamer, chasing that unicorn I might never catch and filling his head with doubts and fears. There was no way to survive on just his income and he couldn't "love me" if I didn't have a real job...

That revelation shook the very foundation of my idea of "unconditional" true love that was supposed to last forever into that Happily Ever After. Once our relationship ended, I also stopped writing.

What did I know about writing romance? Love stories? How could I write about love, when I didn't know it & didn't have it? I stopped caring about my writing and I put it away for a very long time....

But, it was one of those awkward moments you read about but luckily the pain and embarrassment was averted. Maybe he didn't know about the reunion. Maybe he just had no interesting in coming. Maybe he knew I was going to be there and was hoping to avoid me. Who's to say? I don't think it would bother me to have run into him after all these years have passed, it just might have been weird, more than anything.

But the thing is, I'm older now and I found my joy again in writing and I try very hard not to let anyone else steal it from me anymore. I know who I am and I'm still finding my place- it's down a long and winding road, out past the fear and self-doubt and insecurities that I carried away from that time in my life. And I'm proof that you can chase that dream and catch that unicorn....its a shame he allowed others to make him doubt me...

That ending was my new beginning...as I began again a few times, which I think we all do throughout our lives...always moving, always changing, reinventing, and always adjusting to what Life throws our way. Sometimes that Happily Ever After happens, AFTER.


J Broxmeyer said...

I got my HEA the 2nd time around. We just celebrated 16 years of marriage on 8/2. He isn't perfect but he's everything I could ever want. And he loves - warts and all.

Taryn Raye said...

That's the best kind of love J! so glad you found your HEA. It's the good things in life like that which make all the other crap we go through worth it! :)

Thanks so much for stopping back by!