Wednesday, May 03, 2006

still I'm glad for what we had

The papers are signed and notarized. Now, I need to make a trip to see the Circuit Court Clerk, wait 61 days, and go from there.

It was so easy.

And so hard.

My friend Kathy told me that signing the papers is only writing down what you've both already decided. And I know that's true. It just stirred up so many emotions that I can't even begin to describe them all.

I miss my family. I miss Michael and Dottie and Joe and Poppy and Kris.

I miss my friends. I miss karaoke nights with Chris Ward and Josh and Kayla and Stephanie and K. Webb and Jason and Justin and Bristow and everybody else.

I miss my job.

I miss Osagi-san and Houdini and Chewie and Bajeera and Nimbus and Loki and Peachy and Abbey Cat and Alley Cat and The Banshee.

And even though I know better, I still feel like I need to explain everything to everyone. But I don't know what to say or how to say it.

So, here's what I sent to my dad last month (which is, of course, an abridged version, but I think it sums things up well):

Sent: Fri Mar 31 09:07:43 2006

Despite appearances, I haven't been happy for a very long time.

I don't know how else to sum it up succinctly, and I know that sounds oversimplified. I just can't think of another way to say it without going into too many details.

A little over a year before the wedding, I stopped wearing my engagement ring. Michael said he could change. He didn't want to move in with his sister. I didn't particularly want to search for a new roommate. I thought we needed some time apart; he didn't agree. I thought of how disappointed everyone would be if we separated. I thought of how most of "our" friends were really "his," and I wouldn't have anyone left. He said he would change, and he did make a valiant effort, but it wasn't enough.

As I saw it, I only had two choices then: leave Michael and all my friends and half my family (Dottie, Joe, Poppy, Kris) or stay with Michael and pretend to be happy. If I could just pretend to be happy, I could make everyone else around me happy. So, that was the decision I made.

Being the little planner that I am, I figured the next logical step was to get Michael to graduate. Then, the wedding. Then, the move to New Jersey. That was where Michael wanted to be. It's where he's always wanted to be. And I honestly thought I wouldn't mind being there too.

But before the move, I met Darrell. I never intended to be unfaithful to Michael. I just enjoyed spending time with him. He's so sensitive and intuitive, and so much fun to be around. Michael didn't like me spending time with Darrell after a while, and I suppose with good reason, but the way I saw it, Darrell and Chattanooga trips were the only happiness I had left, and I wasn't giving either up.

As I saw it, I only had two choices again: leave Michael and all my friends and half my family (Dottie, Joe, Poppy, Kris) or stay with Michael, pretend to be happy, and see Darrell behind everyone's back. It's funny how I never saw being honest as an option after a certain point.

But I want to be honest again. I want to communicate and be an honest person. And when the Darrell topic came up with Michael in New Jersey, I tried to lie, I did. I wanted to get Michael situated with a job and a house in New Jersey before left there (after a certain point, I realized I couldn't stay there with him), but the discussion arose much too early, and I couldn't lie my way out of it. I tried, and I just couldn't.

Michael said he could forgive me. He could change (again). The one stipulation was no more communication with Darrell. I thought at first I could do this, but then realized I couldn't. I love Michael, but I am in love with Darrell. One of my favorite sayings is that you don't have to like someone to love them. And the truth is, I didn't like Michael anymore. But I did and do still love him. Not in the way he needs to be loved, though. I just can't be who he, his family, and our friends need me to be anymore.

Of course, this has alienated me from his family. I doubt they will be in contact with me again in the future.

Michael and I are still close friends, closer now than I think we have ever been. After all this happened, we became painfully and totally honest with each other. Ironically, if we could have just had that all this time, everything probably would have been much better. He's living with his sister now with Osagi and Houdini.

I'm staying with Darrell with the cats. I've never been so totally, all-encompassing in love with someone, and it's made me so happy. This whole thing has been so bittersweet... so difficult to do, but it feels so RIGHT to be here. I feel like I belong here.

And I guess what it all boils down to is that I can't sacrifice my own happiness for everyone else's anymore. I can't plan out every minute of my future without keeping my own sanity in mind. And I can't stick to plans when I realize they're doomed to lead me to misery. I can't be dishonest with my friends and family about what I want in life. And I have to communicate.

So, here you have it... the abridged version of the story.

I hope you meant it when you said I would never be a disappointment to you.

I'm sorry for not communicating with you and being dishonest with you. I'm sorry for pretending to be happy with Michael. I'm sorry for planning and thinking I could live with my decisions without being happy.

Michael and I might make some day trips into town to karaoke and visit, if that is still okay. He said he would like that.

And please accept Darrell. I know he is quite a bit older than I am, but he means the world to me, and he is taking good care of me. He's agreed to let me stay here and will cover me until I can find a steady income again. He's even eating my veggie food (now, *that's* love! ha!). I feel at home here already.

PS: Is it normal to go through a mid-life crisis at 25? :^P

That sums it up pretty well.

I'm happy where I am now. And I think Michael is happy where he is now. I think this all will work out like it should have all worked out in the first place. Everything happens for a reason, right?

I'd like to think so, at least.

I still have good friends. I still have good family. I still have some work trickling in. I still have my kitty cats (plus one). And I have My Darrell – my love – who appreciates me, loves me, and makes me happier than I ever knew I could be.

I have honesty. I have communication. I have faith that the future will bring me good things and continued happiness. I have more than I've ever had before.

There is a lot to look forward to, so I need to stop looking backward.


posted by Jennifer at 5/03/2006 12:33:00 PM

Blogger carrie said...

I don't comment often, but I wanted to tell you how good it is to hear that you've finally found some real happiness, jennifer. thanks for sharing it.

5/03/2006 04:18:00 PM  

Anonymous b nonymous said...

You're very brave for blogging the specifics, Jennifer. Thanks for the honesty and openness, as always.

5/04/2006 03:12:00 AM  

Anonymous Jamie said...

Of course I wondered what had happened and now I know and I'm happy that you're happy. This is the most important thing here.

Funny(?) thing, my husband and I both were in relationships (though not married) when we met each other. Sometimes it happens this way. And sometimes it turns out to be the best decision you could have made.

5/04/2006 03:23:00 AM  

Blogger just me said...

Hi Jennifer,
I was just searching around Blogger and came across this post. I'm in a very, very similar situation, so I know how it feels. I sincerely hope you'll be happy with Darrel, and I applaud you for doing what you felt was right for you.
Thanks for sharing your story. Makes me feel like there's a light at the end of my long tunnel.

5/04/2006 08:42:00 AM  

Blogger AKA said...

Strangely, Personal Happiness has become underrated. I'm glad that you have made decisions that will make you happy. Good Luck and Be Happy.

5/05/2006 02:24:00 AM  

Blogger Jennifer said...

Carrie - You're sweet. Thank you for the comment.

Mysterious B - Thank you for checking on me when it all hit the fan.

Jamie - Thank you for the words of encouragement. I think it will all work out for the best.

Erin - You're having a tough time! I'm sure things will get better for you soon, and I will think warm fuzzy thoughts for you. Take care of yourself.

AKA - It's true. Personal Happiness has moved up to a very high spot in my list of priorities now, and it's made a world of difference. Thank you for the well wishes, and I'm glad you had a fun time in Italy with Mrs. AKA and Buttercup. (Loved the "dumbass" part!)

5/05/2006 02:54:00 PM  

Blogger Cait said...

i'm glad your happy jen. it can't be easy but it sounds like something good has come from it and at least you learned this at 1 1/2 years in and not 20.
i know this is a loooooong time to return an email, better late than never i guess.

5/07/2006 10:49:00 AM  

Blogger Penny said...

That letter was perfect. And, I am so happy you wrote it for you and for us and for many reasons I have yet to divulge.

I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up on you, but I am happy that I did, today. I haven't forgotten you and I am happy that you sound at peace.

You offer light.

5/09/2006 10:13:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home