When someone shows you who they are, Believe them the first time.
Before I knew how to gracefully walk away when someone did not see my worth, you know what I did?
I dug my heels in.
Ready to audition for my best role yet.
Scrolling through my photo gallery this morning, I stumbled upon this photo.
I look at this photo and I can remember the feelings. My heart races a little. I feel sad. Damnit, Julia.
I was off work that day. I took a little extra time with my make up. Put on a cute outfit. Mind you, I was still battling body insecurities of carrying a baby, breastfeeding and wondering if that was why my husband at the time seemed to be looking elsewhere.
But I was in a performance.
Lights. Camera. Action. 🎬
I picked Layla up early from daycare in anticipation that he would be home soon. I headed to the park. Maybe I could make this a family outing.
Rope him back in with the child right? If he could just see how beautiful a family we were, he would stay.
He never showed.
I can feel the feelings of inadequacy well up in me. At the time I thought maybe I needed to be medicated.
Layla, barely one at the time, freed herself from my grip. Me, exhausted from another failed attempt, let her take a few independent steps. I looked at her, my tears falling heavy in the middle of that playground. Her hands were up and open. The storm in the distance was brewing. It looked dark and heavy. I took a picture.
I lived many a tumultuous night but this one has etched itself into my memory in vivid detail.
When he eventually came ‘home’ he got ready for a night out. No intentions of playing house.
I’m going to watch the game. Just a few drinks. It’s been a long week. The guys are waiting for me. His spiel was well oiled. I could tell you what he’d say before it rolled off his lips.
In my attempts to cling to him, I stayed close and put Layla in the tub begging through my sobs to please just stay. He kissed my forehead as I cried and held Layla in her tub. He turned on his heels and left.
Turned off his phone for dramatic effect.
God knows how many times I walked myself to the guest room and settled myself in for a long night.
As I breastfed Layla, I remember looking at her and grabbing her free hand and telling her, ‘Baby, don’t you ever tolerate this from any man!’
It was so easy for me to say, why would he treat me like this? I gave him everything.
That was the truth. I gave him everything, leaving nothing in my cup for me.
I never asked myself, why am I staying? What makes me feel like I deserve this punishment?
When you start asking the right questions, the universe starts answering you. I was ready for change. I was ready to be in the storm.
He asked for a divorce shortly after. I had been told for the last time in that marriage I was not enough.
Fast forward several months.
I was deep in therapy trying to mend my broken pieces. Alina, my therapist, knowing my love of words had me read, Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood.
I sat in zoom meetings once a week in a group called CoDA-Codependency Anonymous. I read. I journaled. I participated. I did the 12 steps until the chains holding me captive loosened their grip.
I’ve been on a healing journey since. A gift from Chiron, the wounded healer.
I know not where I am going but I am moving forward with certainty that this is exactly the road I need to be on.
Signed: A Healing Woman