I didn’t swim yesterday. I could not force myself to go. I felt guilty about it all day. Today (Thursday) I did swim and it felt good. I was lucky to have my own lane again, as I did on Tuesday. Will I swim on Friday? God only knows.
Thinking is easy while swimming, especially in the last 20 minutes. Ideas and thoughts flit through so fast it’s hard to keep up. I usually look forward to it because it’s like an intense solo brain storming session.
But today my thoughts took a turn I wasn’t expecting and I really have no idea how I ended up there. I began to think back to my second marriage when I was a pretty, young California girl. When I was 22 and he was 37 (a lawyer). Not long after we were married I came home from work and for some reason we were wrestling on the floor. I don’t think my daughter was home, she must have been with my folks. He pinned me to the floor and sat on me and then suddenly he began to beat me with all his might on my hips and outer thighs. He hit and hit and hit and hit.
He had incredible upper body strength because he had been a lifetime surfer/swimmer and he beat me literally to a pulp. Afterwards I felt like minced meat and could barely walk. I had enormous (like an 18″ oval) of deep black bruises for weeks and weeks on both legs. I will never forget what it felt like knowing there was nothing I could say or do to make him stop. I screamed and pled but he didn’t stop until he was done. I was absolutely helpless.
And who did I tell?
And did I ever ask him why he did that? What brought it on? No.
Then my brain flashed forward 35 years to me in London, no longer young, no longer pretty, with my current husband holding a long knife in anger over my foot. And I knew without a doubt that I was close to having my life end. Time stopped as I looked at his trembling hand holding that knife and his grimacing face and I just froze.
In the midst of having these disturbing memories I began to swim slowly on my back and just cried silently. I didn’t look around to see if anyone noticed. I’m sure they didn’t. Who looks at a chubby 57 year old sniffing and swimming on her back? No one.
I don’t hate men. But I have not chosen well. And I feel so tired and used up and I can’t fathom trying it again. I think I’ll be okay with that. I’ve been used and hurt for so long. I’m just lucky my entire life hasn’t been tragic. But many parts of it have been. And soon I may have the opportunity to put myself first for the first time in my life.
I want to stop conforming to another person’s wants and needs. I want to stop molding myself to suit others. I can’t do it any more. I give up. I am waving the white flag. Just leave me alone. The rest of my life is for me and what I can earn in order to leave something to my daughter. And how I might help humanity in some small way. That’s all I want.
I don’t want to get caught up in your interests while I let my interests go. I don’t want to begin to doubt my business idea and only follow yours instead. I don’t want to only eat at places you like or shop at places you want to shop at, see only movies you like to see, or visit only your friends. Or walk behind you as you hold your daughter’s hands in the mall as though I don’t exist.
My god I feel battered and fragile. This is the first time I’ve cried in weeks. Thankfully I don’t do that like I used to.
And, believe it or not, I want to go to church. I say I’ll go every week but then I don’t. The reason I don’t is that my mother has ruined religion for me. She can’t find a church to go to because she finds faults with all of them. As a kid she dragged me to one church after another, but never made anyone else go.
I don’t want her to know that I want to know god because she’ll make it ugly. I don’t want her to try to bond with me over it. To me it is the most personal thing in the world. It is mine and belongs in the deepest part of my heart where no one can touch it. Only lately have I realized that I have my own personal and private relationship with god and I don’t want her to wreck that for me and I don’t want to share it with her.
I guess I am grateful that the church I connect with the most is Episcopal and she doesn’t like it at all. All the standing, sitting, kneeling, switching from hymnal to the Book of Prayer. It’s too much like Catholicism to her. And she hates Catholicism.
Because of my mother I began to feel shame for wanting or needing god in my life. I don’t want her sort of faith. The type where she can be hateful to everyone and yet talk about her Lord and how He understands her. I don’t want anything to do with that sort of faith. My father was raised Catholic but as soon as he could he got away from the church, yet he is a far better example of basic goodness and generosity. The title of “Christian” doesn’t mean anything.
I realized the other day that I figured I’d go back to church after she passes away. Then I realized how absurd that is and decided that it’s time to do that in addition to the other ways that I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
To me, faith is very, very personal. Perhaps that goes against the teachings since we’re supposed to spread the gospel. I don’t want to do that. I just want to know god and feel him in my heart. I just want to live it.
Waiting to hear about my husband’s lawsuit is extremely hard and unlike anything I’ve ever been through before. I think it’s causing me, for some odd reason, to think deeper about how I want my life to play out from here. Not too many people get second chances.
I’m not really sure what’s happening to me but I don’t feel too overwhelmed or frightened by it. It feels as though I am merely going to where I was meant to go all along.
[WordPress just told me this is my 200th post. My god. I hope it’s not all whining.]