Recently I did something I didn’t think I could do. I did something I was AFRAID to do.
I became independent.
No, I haven’t left my husband. Though in doing what I did I thought I might. I took a trip. A vacation of sorts. Away from husband, children, the heat of Arizona.
How can taking a vacation be such a bad thing? Well, when you throw in a day in Canada- it gets a little sticky.
My father’s side of the family had a reunion in New York. I will look for any excuse to take a trip to the East Coast, so when Dad offered to pay my airfare, well, I was online looking at flights! Then I started thinking about all the friends I’ve made on-line over the past 5 or 6 months, and started punching in different destinations to see the price differences. On a whim, I punched in Canada. $100 extra. Feeling impulsive, I booked it. Done. Ten minutes later I freaked out. I still had to tell my husband. How do you tell a man who needs a reason to travel ANYWHERE that you just booked a flight to another country to meet/visit two people you’ve only communicated with through the internet and telephone? Oh, and they’re men to boot?
Through the internet, of course! I sent him an email. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband dearly. It’s just that sometimes it’s much easier to say what I need to by writing him rather than telling him face to face. So I carefully wrote him, explaining what I did and letting him know my reasons for doing so.
Within a half-hour he called me. Demanded that I cancel. My heart sank. I heard the fear in his voice, fighting for control of the situation. We ended the conversation with the old “We’ll talk about this later”. I dreaded later. I felt like a child waiting for Dad to come home to administer punishment for some wrongdoing. But I had done nothing wrong.
I whined (probably too much) to a friend. She questioned my reasons for doing this. I had to laugh. I guess when you have a history, it always comes back here and there to haunt you. She also knows my husband, and in the end she felt I needed to stick to my guns. I was reminded of all the past times I have backed down and not gotten what I wanted. There are plenty. I also spoke to some new friends about my dilemma. Not only did I come to the realization that I could not back down from this, I also learned that I have some very wonderful people in my life. I know this because they told me a lot of things that I didn’t want to hear. I think I appreciated that more than anything. It really made me look at myself, and what I was looking for. Then and there I decided that I was going.
This was NOT an easy task for me. Two days straight of fighting. The first night I gave up completely and told him “Fine! I’ll just cancel!” God I was an idiot. The next day I found I couldn’t cancel. I wanted to go. When I looked at the entire situation, there was absolutely NO reason for me not to go. I felt good about my decision, and when I thought about canceling the trip I felt defeated. And small. And angry.
Then something strange happened. My husband calmed down. Even started asking me questions about what I was going to do there. Where I was staying, things of that sort. He also admitted to a few insecurity and trust issues and agreed to see someone about them. I was so happy! Yes, we certainly have problems to work on in our marriage, and I certainly am not void of my own issues, but this was a HUGE step.
He went to therapy just before I was to leave. I was a mess the night before, and that whole morning I chewed my fingernails completely off. Early in the afternoon I sent him an email, just asking how his day was going. I got quite a response. He told me all about his session. The thing that really threw me for a loop was there was absolutely nothing new in what he discussed. The blame was still on me, and our relationship. The same threats were made to me again that were made over a week ago.
I felt as if I had been kicked in the gut. For the first time I really felt like I was going to lose my husband. I felt the panic settling in, and I picked up the phone to call a friend. She wasn’t available. That’s when I realized I was starting to have trouble breathing. In sheer desperation I emailed another friend. I had no clue how I would get through this. Strong? Independent? What the hell was I thinking? I pulled out my flight info, ready to grab the phone and just cancel the whole weekend.
One of my friends got back to me, and was able to talk me down. It was put into perspective- would these problems go away if I cancelled, especially at this point in time? Of course not, and I knew that. I felt better, though I was even more desperate to get out of town. By this time I just needed to get away.
So I went. The day I left was tough, I didn’t get any emotion from my husband. A stiff hug goodbye. But I pushed it out of my mind and looked ahead to my weekend. I focused on seeing my Dad and that part of the family. And of course my new adventure to come.
What I didn’t count on is how much I would miss them! Seeing all my family, my sisters and their kids, I missed my children! Yet every time I would call home, it was like talking to a robot. Sunday night from Canada he sounded a little more interested in what I had been doing, but I only chalked that up to the fact that this was the place he didn’t want me to be.
I left with a feeling that I am not the same. I did it- I stuck to my guns, and let whatever was going to happen, happen. It was probably one of the scariest things I had ever done in my life. The benefits of it are showing. I feel more confident. I hold my head up a little higher. I feel stronger, clearer, and ready to jump back in to being mother and wife. Though at the same time not denying the person-woman-that I am first and foremost.
When I got back to Arizona, I walked out into the familiar heat to wait for my ride home. My phone rang. It was my husband, calling to make sure I made it home. I heard the relief in his voice, and I had to smile. He DID miss me! For the first time in two weeks I had a feeling that all would be ok.
I’m still smiling, and today in my daily meditation I got a quote that can put my whole ordeal into perspective:
“Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with truth.”
Thich Nhat Hanh