Monday, May 5, 2014

Divorced Moms column: The Return of Me. Finding Fearless Lizzy Post Divorce

My latest Divorced Moms column is out! Happy Monday.

The Return of Me. Finding Fearless Lizzy Post Divorce
by Lizzy Smith                    
May 05, 2014
Fotolia_63971714_XS.jpgI look back at the person I was while married and it saddens me. The more I write and reflect about that prior life, the more I realize how much I was not myself – at all. Before marriage, I was funny, sarcastic, happy, energetic, smart, and witty. I loved exploring new places and learning new things. I loved robust conversations and shopping; traveling and cooking. I found joy everywhere. I loved life and felt on top of the world. But during my marriage, I quickly became a shell of myself in order to try and “keep the peace” in the midst of a tumultuous and abusive marriage.

Case in point…

While I was married, I read Reading Lolita In Tehran. It was the story of a female professor of literature at the University of Tehran during the Iranian Revolution. Her students were reading many of the same books that I read in college and it inspired me to put aside my favorite “chick lit” books and Vanity Fair magazines for a bit and read something of substance. My then-husband, Rob, read nothing. Not a newspaper or magazine or, heaven forbid, a book. He told me many times that he hadn’t read a book since the sixth grade. I thought this might be the perfect bonding opportunity- pick a good book and we could read it together before falling asleep. Maybe if he experienced great literature, it would inspire him to read more and maybe, just maybe, he’d start being different. I know—it was a stretch and not a realistic expectation but, hey, I was gasping at any straw. So I picked The Great Gatsby. It was short, easy to read, and the story haunted me.

For two nights, I read one chapter out loud to Rob. Until the third night when I started to read and Rob nearly shouted at me: “Stop! I just want to go to bed. This is stupid!” I felt like he had slapped me. I got out of bed and took a long hot bath and read the book alone. Oh well, I tried.

My point is that Rob and I were on different planets when it came to our interests, priorities, and desires in life. Alcoholism aside, finding things to talk about with Rob was a challenge because his interests were fishing, work, and where we should go out to dinner next. And my interests ranged from kids to managing a home to future vacations to… yes, current events, politics, weather, a tiny miniscule of work and just about everything in between. I soon discovered that there were loads of triggers for Rob that would surely start a huge fight. Those topics could include anything that had to do with running the home, children, or finances. And he knew nothing about anything that required reading a book, magazine, newspaper, or listening to a news source. Intellectual curiosity was non-existent. But even if I did manage to avoid obvious hot topics, anything could (and did) become a trigger. So I withdrew more and more into myself. I laughed less. I was not spontaneous. I was cold and reserved. I was sad. I often did things on autopilot, taking no joy or satisfaction from anything except achieving a spotless home. It was the only thing that was in my control so control it I did. With a vengeance.

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