Forgive, But Don’t Forget

People always say to forgive others, and I am no exception to that “rule”. I put the word “rule” in quotations because it isn’t a real rule. A personal rule, maybe, and a rule that people push onto others…but nevertheless, not a real one.

I have been thinking a lot about this lately.

I don’t know many people who would forgive someone for Mortal Kombat-style ripping their heart out of their chest. Or, more realistically, for literally squandering years of their life. However, the act of forgiving someone frees the forgiver of being bitter towards the “forgivee”, but also towards life in general.

Life is not meant to be lived with a bitter attitude. There was a period of time after my divorce where I thought of real love as a huge joke. I remember being on a plane, going to North Carolina, and being stuck beside this young couple who were basically glued to one another. I remember that bitter feeling I had towards them and really feeling compelled to tell them that they were dumb and it wouldn’t last. Like, what a jerky thing to think, right? Who am I to push my negativity onto others? So, no, I did not say a word to them, although I side-eyed them every once in awhile, with my nose in my book.

Needless to say, I got my shit together (hence this post).

I will not give anyone on planet Earth the satisfaction of knowing their actions made me bitter and cold. I will not model a negative attitude for my children. And I will not let this event in my life define who I am. So, forgive others? YES. Forget what they did? HECK NO.

Let me tell you why.

Every single part of your life is important. Every experience shapes you. You live and you learn… you know, like Alanis said. Everything in your life teaches you something very valuable. For instance, I have learned that I am worthy of being loved unconditionally and whole-heartedly, with kindness and respect. I have learned that there really is someone out there who believes I am the bee’s knees. I discovered that I was able to fall in love again, and that this time it was legit. I figured out that healthy relationships do not actually consist of constant arguing, gut-wrenching feelings of insecurity, and never knowing where I stand. I realized that I am stronger than I seem. I figured out how to grit my teeth and be a bad-ass for the sake of my children and my sanity. I learned that not everyone will see my side of things.

I learned that life continues, even after you think it won’t. And that is why you should never forget where you have been, or what you have been through.

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An Open Letter to the One Who Broke My Heart:

Dear you,

When we met, we were just children. Even though I had our baby growing inside of me, I was just a baby myself. And so were you. Were the feelings we had for one another real? Yes, I think so. We loved each other.

But then there were girls. Girls you would talk to online. Girls you would flirt with in your college class. Being 20 years old with a newborn baby, and not very self-assured, I voiced my concerns. I felt insecure. I didn’t like it. You told me I was being ridiculous. So I turned a blind eye.

Then there were secrets. You kept things from me. Hid them away. I am sure there are plenty of things I still do not know to this day. Unexplained things. Late night phone calls from girls in the military. Claiming it was part of your “job” to “be there for them”. A heart-shaped note in your duffel bag after coming home from a three-week long training. I found it while you were sleeping…I was just going to do your laundry. But I was “crazy”. Dog tags belonging to a girl in the army…on the floorboard of your truck. Inappropriate text messages about another girl. Surprise, surprise…a girl in the army. Not coming home for weeks after telling me you were thinking of leaving me. Leaving me alone with our toddler and our baby to think about “what I have done”. It was my fault. All my fault. I was beat down…defeated. I felt trapped and alone. Like nobody could hear me. My intuition was nagging me constantly, for years:

Something isn’t right. You really aren’t crazy.

But I was “crazy”.

And I believed I was. You made me believe I was.

Finding out about the affair(s) crushed me. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, yet I felt like I could for the first time. I wasn’t “crazy”. I was right…and it was a relief to know. You betrayed me and you lied to me for years. I don’t wish for anyone to know that feeling…not even you.

Today, I am happy. Happier than I ever thought possible. I found love again. A healthy love. A wonderful love. For months I tried dating, and I thought love wasn’t in the cards for me. Then I found love, at the least expected time. I do not worry about what he is doing when he is not with me. There is no question in my mind that he loves me. Instead of finding questionable things, I find sweet notes he has written for me to find. He reminds me pretty much everyday how thankful he is for me. He makes me laugh and he takes care of me. He pays attention to me. He enjoys spending time with me, and he is excited about the future with me and the kids.

And he does not make me feel crazy.

I do hope for the best for you. I do not wish terrible things upon you. I sincerely mean that.

-Casey

Whoa.

The craziest thing has happened to me. I feel completely and emotionally healed, and it seems like it happened overnight! I know that it didn’t, of course. It took many months, many tears, many moments of anger. Wine. Friend support. Poor decisions. Music. Counseling. Letting go. Forgiveness. All of these things were part of the process. A process that I never thought would end. Yet, here I am, feeling completely and wonderfully healed. And happyI feel like I hear music differently, even. If that makes sense. Which I’m sure it doesn’t, because most things I think don’t make a lot of sense.

My former mother in law always says, “You can’t help how you feel. Feelings just are.” She is a hundred percent right, and usually is. People should always trust the process, even if they feel like there is no end in sight when they are going through an emotionally painful experience. I allow myself to feel what I feel because it is necessary. I may or may not have thought I would become a bitter, reborn spinster with 37 cats and an RV for the rest of my life, but that feeling didn’t last either. People tell others not to be negative, and I certainly agree with that to an extent. But it is another thing entirely to be allowed to feel negative feelings. Like I said, this is necessary. It is necessary for healing. It is necessary for showing your children it is okay to feel. It is necessary because you are human.

Looking back on how far you have come is empowering, looking at the now is encouraging, and looking forward is oh-so-exciting.

My Absurd Attraction to Characters Played by John Cusack.

John Cusack has always been my celebrity crush. Ever since I saw him in Say Anything when I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to fall in love with someone exactly like him. Obviously, it was his character that made him such a heartthrob, BUT, I watched Must Love Dogs recently for the first time, and I swear it’s like he is THE SAME PERSON. His easy-going nature, adorable awkwardness, gentlemanly kindness, and awesome sense of humor when he plays Lloyd Dobler and Jake…Swoon. And let’s not forget his character, Jonathan Trager, in Serendipity. Again, SAME PERSON.

How does he do it? Is this really what he is like?! A girl can dream, I suppose. The point of this post is not to go on and on about John Cusack…It’s to mention that there is something to be said about expectations.

I think about this sometimes. Have I always had some sort of expectation when it comes to anything in life in general? I really am not so sure. I have hoped, sure. I have hoped for things to be a certain way, or go a certain way. But did I really expect them to? I don’t think so. But, again, that is the purpose of this post. I definitely have expectations now. Higher ones. Once upon a time, I expected nothing. What happened, happened. Does that make sense? I am asking myself this question more than I am of you, sweet reader. Hopes and expectations are clearly different in nature. When one hopes, their hearts nearly burst with rainbow-y, fantastic, romantic, fall-to-your-knees something. They get wrapped up. When one expects something, it is more logical in approach. Their brains evaluate all things sensible, and they go from there. Hope and Expectation are the equivalent to Dreamer and Idealistic. I have always been a romantic- a dreamer. A believer of all things Nicholas Sparks story line. My curiosity, now, is…Can one be both? Which is realistic? Will I find my Loyd-Jake-Jonathan? Or will I be practical and be with someone who can meet realistic expectations? I do not know the answer to this yet. So stick around to find out? If you want to, I mean. Shit, I may end up being a born-again spinster with a bunch of cats and an RV that I drive everywhere/live in. Maybe embarrass my kids at college by dropping by to visit, while wearing a ridiculously floppy hat. Perhaps I will drink Earl Grey tea and unGodly amounts of coffee.

…Or, I could meet my Loyd-Jake-Jonathan and be completely comfortable in my own skin for the rest of my life…and never have to question whether I am loved by the one I love with my whole heart…ever again.

Commitment.

For 8 years, I was committed to one man and our family. Deeply committed, and without a doubt in my mind that it was what I wanted. Never a doubt.

Today is different. Today meaning these days. As in, these days, Casey cannot commit to anyone except herself and her children. 

By dictionary definition, commitment means the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. But if you continue reading, the next definition says, an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action. Interestingly enough, I identified with the first definition when I was married. Now, obligation and restricts freedom stick out to me like a sore thumb. That is what commitment means to me now. I have an awful taste in my mouth about it. The funny thing is (or maybe it isn’t funny), I don’t know when this view shifted. I didn’t wake up one day and make the decision. It was like the decision was made for me. My brain protecting my heart. 

My heart wants so badly to be ready to love again. To be loved. To remarry, have another baby or two, make a life, be happy…and commit. Yet my brain says no. Not right now. So do I trust that one day my brain will say yes? Yes, go ahead. You are ready.

I don’t know the answer to that, and it bothers me tremendously. What I wanted so badly as a little girl, what I loved so dearly, the marriage and family I was so devoted to…it was all ripped away from me. And I was blindsided.

I have to stop seeking out relationships. I am hurting people. It is never my intention. I will feel so “ready” and so “happy”, only to find it was temporary. My fear is that I will never want to try to love again, for fear of hurting someone else in case my brain says no. 

I do not know the right timeframe for all this. I was separated in November of last year and divorced in February. It was a blur. Just August of last year, I thought my husband would come home to me from deployment and we would live out the rest of our days happy with our family. It has only been a year since we separated, and not even a year since our divorce was finalized. Since I stood in front of the judge in the court room with my lawyer. My mother in-law sitting in the pew behind us, crying. I am not sure that my ex husband will ever know how much I loved him.

All I know is, I do not have it in me yet to love again. So, I will continue to focus on myself and my sweet babies. Focus on grad school and work. On friends and family. On healing.

And one day- maybe one day, out of the blue, someone will come and sweep me off my feet. And I will look to God and say “I know why now. I understand.

Heal, Heal, Heal.

I have been divorced almost nine months now. I attended my 7th counseling session yesterday, and it was the first time I cried in front of my counselor. My voice cracked unexpectedly as I was talking. Tears started to come, and I was mortified. I know it is a safe place to cry, but I don’t like losing control of my emotions in front of others. And that is what happened! I lost total control. I didn’t realize how completely bothered I was/am about what I was talking about- the fear of losing my former in-laws. I am slowly phasing out of their lives as the other woman slips into them. It is inevitable, I suppose. But I am wrestling with that in my mind. It doesn’t seem at all fair. I didn’t ask for all of this to happen- have my husband taken, my marriage broken, my family broken. They were my family for so many years- I can’t bear losing them, too. I know they still love me (they have told me so), but I still can’t help but feel that one day…I will be phased out altogether.

The amount of losses a person can withstand is incredible. I know this. This does not set me a part from anyone, really. People lose people and ways of life all the time. With each loss, however, comes grief. And then some sort of clarity (maybe). You learn things. You find out what you’re made of. I wish it wasn’t such a long, difficult process. But then again, I don’t wish that. It is necessary to go through it…to feel every second of it. It is necessary to lose control and cry until your eyes are drained and swollen. It is necessary to make not-so-great decisions when your heart is wounded. It is necessary to feel the raw emotions that come with a loss. It is necessary to wake up in the morning, let your feet hit the floor, and whisper to God a “thank you” for giving you the strength to get out of bed. Taking it one day at a time…it is necessary. 

Because one day, you will heal.

 

Movies.

This weekend is my weekend without my kids.

I went to Movie Trading Company, which is one of my favorite places, and decided to find a few movies that I would like to have. I went through each aisle, starting with the clearance section. I ended up with The Princess Diaries (a childhood favorite), Under the Tuscan Sun (a good picker upper), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (something to make me laugh), and Paris Je Taime (a raw and amazing compilation of love stories). As I browsed, I noticed that my eyes would hone in on the love stories. You’ve Got Mail, The Notebook, When a Man Loves a Woman… and I realized how incredibly robbed I felt. Haha, now…don’t get it twisted. I realize they’re just movies. Movies aren’t real life. I get that. But I have always put so much faith in love being like it is in movies.

I feel so dumb typing this. Just hear me out.

I unrealistically believed in the true love story. Love is way more complicated than that. Love isn’t easy. I’m fact, it is fucking complicated and hard. Divorce has taught me a lot. Betrayal has taught me a lot. Thinking that I knew someone has taught me a lot. I’m not being negative. I’m being practical and realistic for the first time in my life. I won’t give up hope that there is a one person I will spend the rest of my life with happily and love them through and through, but I also am not holding my breath. I’m going to have fun. I’m going to be me, completely. I’m going to love myself and focus on me. After all, I’ve taken care of someone else my entire life. Not all the same people. But that is the role I assume, and it always has been.

There is something liberating about letting shit go and just focusing on yourself. It isn’t selfish. I realize that now. So tonight, I cooked myself some spaghetti, drank some wine, stretched out on the couch, and watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It isn’t much. But it doesn’t have to be. I’m actually pretty okay with being alone. I enjoy having me time. One day I just might meet that someone I want to share my life with. But that day is not today, and in the meantime, I’m gonna celebrate me and all I have to offer ❤️

New Home.

I now have a new house. It is an hour away from my old one. We move next weekend.

I had a garage sale this past Saturday. It was a cleansing of sorts, abruptly giving up things I had made my former husband and things that we shared together. Things with memories attached to them. I guess they aren’t just “things”. They all held clear memories. Such as the chess table I made for him. We didn’t have a lot of money that Christmas, and I decided to make him a chess table because chess was his favorite game. And the first game I had ever beat him in. But only once, and that was enough. I used to tell him, “I guess you’ve met your match.”

I found the small, wooden end table at a local thrift shop and carefully stained the squares (after grueling measurements to make sure the squares were evenly made- math is not my forte). I remember being so excited while making it for him, I knew it was going to be a great gift. I think we played on it once. And I gave it away. I tell myself, “this is what you have to do in order to move forward. Let it go”. So that’s what I’m doing. Letting it all go.

Now, as I sit here in my “old” backyard, I hear birds chirping, see the full moon bright above me. People- neighbors talking. My neurotic and crazy dog barking at the fence. I’m sure they won’t miss me too much, on the account of her. As I sit here, I am reflecting on the moments that I knew in my soul were real. I’ll never understand. That is apparent. I’ll never understand why this had to happen. When I look at my situation from an outsider point of view, I think, well geez, it’s alright. Just move on. Don’t let it affect you. But in my heart of hearts, as myself, and from my point of view, it is earth-shattering.

I told my former mother in law the other day, “you know that expression, ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve? Well, I think I wear mine on my nose…or my forehead or something.’” She had a good laugh of it. Using humor is a dark, but healthy coping mechanism. But it’s a true statement. I am cursed to feel so deeply that it is borderline ridiculous. Will I always be this way? Will I be hardened by it? Will my heart turn to stone? Do I want it to?

I don’t know the answers to those questions I ask myself. I can only find out. But I do know that this is who I am. Deep down. No matter how much my heart hardens from this, I know it will only be a facade that I put up for self-protection. So what does one do?

Well, they make the best of what they have. And that is what I intend to do. I’ll kick and scream, laugh, cry, hysterically sob, and smile through it all. Because after all, that is who I am.