This is what one of my most bestest and wisest friends in the world said to me on the phone, the other day. "But Claudia* (*name change) I feel like I'm crumbling right now" I cried as I walked the 45 minutes to my third counselling session filling her in on the last two years. "My darling," she replied, "you're not crumbling, you're growing."
I didn't feel it. In that moment about to go into counselling to rip myself apart in order to try and put myself back together again I felt like a statue desperately trying to stay upright. But through the constant wear and tear, knocks and digs, cracks and grazes whilst being repeatedly ravished by unforgiving elements I couldn't help but crumble away at the edges and little by little dissolve into the ground. As I mentioned in my last couple of blogs I have fallen off the tightrope recently and as a result, sought out some counselling for myself.
I returned to the UK in August. I felt ok. I was apprehensive, but the last few weeks abroad had felt good. I was hopeful returning would be the corner I needed to turn, to start feeling like this was all behind me, behind us and we could move forwards together. We were back in our own house, our lovely community and the kids were reconnecting with all their old friends. My husband was like an excited child being home. He was free of the scene of the crime, free of the reminders, free of his job, free of the arseholes who judged and gossiped about us. He was reborn and loving it. Me? I wasn't much different and it killed me. I lasted a couple of weeks before I crashed and it was bad. The vortex of time from September 5th until 20th October sucked me in viciously. That's when the affair started and the day I found out about it and these weeks are existing in slow motion, with every.single.second making sure I count it, as it slowly passes by tormenting me. Trapped in an airlock where time is grating on me like a slow form of punishment. Every day that goes by is excruciating. It's another day that he didn't stop it. Another day of me being oblivious to what was happening without my knowledge. It seems so fucking long. We're still not even at d-day yet, as I write this. There's still 13 days to go. So I'm in this black hole and the physical manifestations come back with a vengeance. Neck pain, headaches, exhaustion and nausea return like unwanted old friends that hang heavily off my shoulders slowly sucking the life out of me. My mood dipped, my emotions felt like they were on a frickin trampoline, I was irritable, woke up crying, went to bed crying, cried on my own, cried in my sleep, had flashback episodes again that took me out at the knees, the nightmares returned and I was like really? Fucking REALLY? This again?
Enough already! I want to STOP CRYING!! I want this to go the fuck away. I want to feel better. I want to feel normal. Why will this NOT GO AWAY??!!! The crux of it came when I had a terrible nightmare. I dreamt of being in my sister's spare room. I was staying there the night I went to pick up my husband when all this blew up. I could see myself getting up at 3.30am to go and pick him up from the airport. Receiving the message he had landed and getting ready to go and get him. I was trying to get her/my attention, but she couldn't see me. I was thinking to myself I need to stop her. She doesn't know. She doesn't know what's coming. This feeling of dread engulfed me. Then, this really intense feeling of ignorance and innocence she has for her life right now swam round me. It was so real. It's going to change and you have no idea. You will never have that same feeling. Your life is never, ever going to be the same. She's oblivious. Completely oblivious to what's about to happen to her. Thinking life is just normal, it's ticking over and just her every day average life. She has no clue it's never going to feel like that ever again.
Don't go! Don't fucking go! I couldn't stop her. There was nothing I could do it was going to happen regardless. So then in the dream I was hugging and hugging and hugging her. I hugged her so tight and so hard with every ounce of meaning that my body possessed because I knew. I knew she was going to need it. I knew she deserved that amount of love. I knew how much she was going to hurt. I knew what was to come and I wanted her to know I was there for her. I wanted to transfer anything I had straight into her from me into her because we were one. She was me. God it was so real. Those feelings so intense. I cried and cried and cried. I still do when I think about it.
I woke myself up saturated with that sense of loss for who I was before all this began. That ignorant innocence of life, I am now jealous of.
Seriously, I cannot live like this. I cannot continue with this in my life in this format. If leaving is what will give me peace, then maybe that's what I need to seriously start considering, as this is killing me. Maybe it's time to admit that I just can't get over it. I have tried, but it's just too much and I can't do it. I need to know if I am at the point where I genuinely cannot get over it so need to finally call it, or just want some peace and this is the only way I can perceive getting some. To be honest it felt like I needed a rehab program for 30 days where I could go away, get fixed and come back again feeling better. So I took myself to counselling.
OMG, the first session was unreal! It went in a flash. Having verbal diarrhoea is the understatement of the year. I felt like chaining myself to the couch and refusing to move until she fixed me. I wanted to stay there for three days straight, I'd only just got started. She was so quiet, so soft, yet so sharp with her insights and observations. So patient and kind. I wanted to lie on her and have her stroke my hair, but of course I was sat across the room having to keep a "safe" distance. *eye roll* (Not knocking her by the way, just an annoying nod to the current climate we are facing.)
Two main things came out of that first session. The first was the realisation of how much I had actually been bracing myself against while living overseas. Have you ever had that sensation of not realising how much something was affecting you until it's not there anymore? It's like my body and mind had been holding it together for so long because of the situation I was living in. Then when it wasn't there anymore, everything could just let go, and my God it had. I had worked so damn hard to keep everything together, to forge a life while I was there, to make friends, find a job, rebuild my relationship and my family while my whole being was falling apart, deal with that God awful, self-centred fucking woman and all those gossiping arseholes. When I left and I didn't have to anymore, everything turned from the solid strength I had had to enforce to complete jelly no longer able to hold itself up. I told her I felt beaten up and raw. Like I had been punched and kicked for two years. Literally paraded in front of a firing squad, placed in front of people to walk past and punch and kick me for their own pleasure, with nothing I could do about it. I was so full of anger for my husband to put me in that position. I don't care how I had been fucking up my marriage, I did NOT fucking deserve any of that. I was sick and tired of being on the receiving end of other people's own personal shit and the projections they pump out into the world from a shot gun because of it. Insecurity, ideas of grandeur and self-importance, gossiping masked as do-gooding, revelling in other's misfortune because it makes them feel better about themselves, power-tripping, lying, bullying, judging, UUUUURRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!! Makes me want to scream. I am fucking done with it. To the point where I was seriously considering not leaving the house for fear of being constantly exposed to just people and their shit.
The other thing was bigger, deeper and has started to map out another whole new area of healing I need to explore. I can't remember exactly what I was talking about to the counsellor as the words had a life of their own, but it was probably something about my husband, when she said four words to me:
"Who do you see?"
I had to stop and think.
Who do you see? Thinking of an answer to those four words very subtly distracted me enough while a very old, grubby and weathered plaster could be pulled off, without me even noticing it, revealing a quiet wound I thought had gone. After a pause, I said I saw a wolf in sheep's clothing. I may have written about that before somewhere in these blogs. However, it wasn't my answer that was so poignant here, it was the feeling that question left me with. That kind of feeling that lingers and niggles at you. Prodding you and poking you until you figure out what it's trying to bloody tell you. It was a very familiar feeling that lingered for a few days before it made sense. My verbal outpouring in that first session was so intense I can't even recall how much I said, but I think I had mentioned something about my own childhood experiences with infidelity. I can only presume that is what prompted her question. The obvious answer would have been that I saw my dad. But I really didn't and I don't when I see my husband, even through the cheating I don't see my dad in him, I do see a wolf in sheep's clothing, but that question triggered a feeling that I recognised, an eery recollection of familiarity. I had felt it before.
It was a total loss of respect, complete disgust and contempt for someone who I now perceived to be a spineless and weak excuse of a human being. THAT familiar feeling reminded me of my dad. When I realised that, it was like I suddenly stopped in my tracks. Shit, that fucking plaster's been pulled off! You fucker, when did that happen?
And yes, another awesome friend of mine, was absolutely right. I am not crumbling, I am growing and where I need to grow has just revealed itself very sneakily and thrown down the gauntlet. Which, dusting off the rubble from the crumbling around my feet, I bent down and picked up.