Carrying around a dead horse can be exhausting. Truth is I didn’t know it, but hey, as smart as I think I am, I’m also a slow learner. Staying too long, in an unhappy union for forty years, was my dead horse.
The best part, other than my kids, was a divorce from that union, and my subsequent freedom these past ten years. My joy, my optimism and travelling the world, every single thing about my life now, is worth being here for. There was a time I didn’t want to be here, but that was long ago in another life.
I have turned to writing in my old age. Thank goodness the government sends me a check every month because I have yet to make a cent off writing. Truth be told I would write anyway, even if no one reads it, I gather all these insights, into myself and the world around me. Organizing my thoughts, making sense of my past, figuring out the present and maybe even contemplating the future.. what is left of it : ) This blog is my baby and sometimes I venture out and enter writing contests. I am entering one again and decided to get some advice on a piece I entered twice before. This is my third and final time revising and entering this piece..
A good friend from my writers group, agreed to look it over for me. He sent me back an email this past week, I couldn’t really make any sense of it. He was advising me about the ‘male perspective’ of events that I had laid out, wanting me to take note, so to speak. I mulled it over some, but truthfully I dismissed it as ‘mansplaining’.
Upon awakening the morning after his email and still thinking about what he said, it suddenly dawned on me.. exactly what he was saying. The dead horse I was secretly carrying around all these years, starting kicking inside of me.. eventually setting itself free from the confines of my total ignorance.
Dear sweet Andrew, you have set in motion a way for my soul to heal itself from the last vestiges of hurt, anger and dare I say hate? If what you say and wrote is true and I now believe that it is, then it makes complete sense and answers all my ‘whys’ of those forty years.
I want to share what Andrew wrote in response to my feelings of futility and hopelessness in my marriage, which was included in my non-fiction story. Maybe it will help someone else that is struggling with the whys.
I do want to point out, because I think it might make you feel better and I think it will make the story better, that you really have no idea what your husband was thinking or his motives. What you know is what you saw and how it effected you. You don’t really know what he cared about or didn’t care about. All you know is how he acted and how those actions affected you.
I have never found that when someone says to me “you did this because” that they are ever right. I doubt that I am any better at guessing why People do what they do. So I don’t assume that I know. It makes life better.
Sometimes people do things because they don’t know any better. They don’t mean anything by it.
Does that make any sense?
Well Andrew .. it has taken me all these years to even consider that what you wrote could be possible. We assume a lot in our lives about others and maybe that’s unfair. I tried so hard to make everything work and I assumed I was doing all the work. Maybe he had a different view and his own devils, or maybe he just didn’t know better?
This is a whole new perspective I had never even considered. If this is true, then it certainly explains a lot. My understanding of this is important only to my complete recovery from that part of my life. My need to forgive myself for staying in that relationship is now moot. If he didn’t know what he was doing or causing in his ignorance, then how can I hold him accountable? He didn’t shackle me to him, so I know I need to take responsibility as well. It’s true our arguments always fell on deaf ears, we were too busy trying to defend ourselves to each other. How could we begin to understand what the other was going through.
I have always ‘flushed’ any feelings that surfaced from that time with him, this was necessary for my happiness going forward. But the defeat I unconsciously harbored was so obviously in that dead horse. If I could have brought that horse to life and kicked the shit out of him, just once.. then I could have closed that chapter forever. I didn’t want to kill him, just hurt him like I hurt for all those years… wow, look what comes out of me when I write. I’m not going to lie, there are some powerful emotions going through me as I’m writing this.
We are never too old to learn I know, but how do we open our minds and our hearts, without getting hurt again? I probably wasn’t ready to hear and accept those words you wrote Andrew.. until now. Maybe a part of me secretly felt I needed to carry that dead horse around, a penance of sorts? Its time to set it free…
“Forgive them father for they know not what they do…”