Silver Anniversary

Last month was my 25th wedding anniversary.  There were so many emotions swirling inside of me that day, actually that entire week, that I was unable to even come here in that time frame and sort them out.  I wanted to.  I kept signing in and staring at the screen.  I knew if there was any place to air my anxiety this was the place.  And even though several weeks have passed since the “special day”, I still feel the need to come and write about it.  As anyone who is a regular reader would know…this was NOT a happy day for me.  It was a less than joyful event.  In the days leading up to it, I started to become angry, depressed, and emotional over everything.  I just wanted to skip past it.  I didn’t want to think about it.  Just get to the days that followed as if it never existed.

For couples who are happily married, when days like this come, they’re excited, especially a big one like this.  Maybe plan a trip or at least a night out, dinner, flowers, maybe a gift.  So the anger started pulsing because even though this is not an exciting time of year for me, as it was getting closer my mind started.  I was feeling ripped off.  We don’t really do gift giving as it is so I was not expecting anything but that started to bother me.  Like, I’ve thrown away 25 years of my life the least I can get is a damn gift.  But then in my heart I knew…I don’t want anything from this man.  I don’t want a gift, a flower or even a piece of chocolate.  Just go away and pretend like this union never even existed.  Now THAT would be a gift!

Then I started picking arguments.  Believe it or not there are days when he is silent.  Days when he does not bother me at all and days my kids and I can get through morning to night without the aggravating sound of his voice.  So on those days, I just picked.  Over stuff that mattered and stuff that didn’t matter.  Like how he can put his dish on the counter next to the sink but not actually inside of the sink.  Why?  Why can’t you stretch your arm out and inch more and put the damn dish in the damn sink?  Whatever could be done to put him in the frame of mind that I was in.  Even if we had to argue.  He should be in a pissed off mood…it obviously wouldn’t pertain to the actual anniversary but who cares.  His day should be ruined – because mine is.  But he wasn’t biting.  It all came to a head later that week (Finally…), which just shows how my frame of mind and emotions were because of this reminiscent day of marriage.

The day came and he was excited.  I was sad and moping around.  There was absolutely nothing special about the day except that he was trying to be nice.  I did get flowers, which is the usual.  (For the men reading this…I’m not downing the giving of flowers…this is solely particular to my own case with this particular person.)  In the big picture, the gesture is kind and appreciated.  Looking through the microscope though, who cares?  They’ll be dead in a few days and he’ll be an asshole again.  No gift, no dinner, nothing special.  I’m perfectly fine with that.  I’d preferred that it was a regular day, without the added title to it.  I cooked, washed the dishes, worked, etc. Normal day.

Over the years, I’ve made friends with the parents of my kids’ closest friends.  Some parents I’d feel closer to than others.  Some that I feel less close with I remained friends with longer.  I’m not really sure if that even makes sense.  But there was one mom who was great to talk to.  She was also a teacher in my daughter’s school so she was also smart and I felt smart when I’d talk to her.  And I felt admired when I’d talk to her because she always was in awe of how great my kids were and how well behaved and how smart they were.  When we had become semi-close she had just started her second marriage and had her second child – the first for her husband – and she always asked about my parenting skills and what did I do, if anything, differently from my first to my second, etc.  Our conversations always did come back around to how I was such an inspiration and how I should be proud of myself because I beat the odds.  The odds being that I was a teenage mother who married her boyfriend also while a teenager and who was able to maintain that status and go on to have two more children and create and sustain a whole family unit.  And for some reason, when she said it to me, I believed it.  I believed I had beat the odds.  I believed that it was this amazing feat that not many others I knew had achieved.

But on this day, my Silver Anniversary, when her words rang in my ear, it wasn’t something that was admirable … it was sad.  Just sad.  I wasn’t doing anything wonderful for people to be astonished by I was sitting still.  Paralyzed with fear.  Scared to leave.  Allowing the days of abuse and duties of being a wife and mother just take over and eclipse my heart and spirit of who I really am.  I never told my friend the secret I was hiding.  I’m not sure if she would have been surprised.  I wonder if her opinion of me would have lessened or been any different.

All of this just boils down to the fact that on this day when I should be happy, I should feel accomplished, I should be celebrating with friends and family and a significant other that I should be in love with….I couldn’t.  For me it was a spotlight on the years that have been wasted.  Time never seemed to make such an impact on me as it did this day.  I can never get back the 25 years that have passed.  What I can do is harness the way this day made me feel to keep myself on track.  So I can easily, and hopefully peacefully, get out and start a new life with a new goal.  Once I press the restart button, I will be counting the next 25 years with peace of mind, happiness and loving life each and every day I’m given.

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

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12 thoughts on “Silver Anniversary

  1. I’m sorry that your anniversary is this way for you – but you have a really empowering message: Once I press the restart button, I will be counting the next 25 years with peace of mind, happiness and loving life each and every day I’m given.”

    I hope the next years are brighter – and abuse free 🙂

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  2. Your next 25 will be amazing. You’re here at this place because of what’s happened, and you’re much more enlightened now. Sure, there are other ways to reach this place, but at least you’re looking at the positive and not suffering in the negative. And that’s cause for celebration!

    Hugs to you.

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  3. It breaks my heart that you should have to feel that kind of anguish and regret about this “milestone.” But even more heartbreaking is questioning the accomplishments you have achieved — things you have managed to do in spite of the circumstances surrounding you and the children you have raised.

    That kind of thinking belongs to “him,” not you.

    Those qualities and accomplishments your teacher friend found so admirable about you have no less value now then they did then. In fact, I’m certain that her knowledge of the circumstances you have dealt with would only deepen her respect and appreciation for what you have managed to achieve as a mother and a person.

    Those regrets don’t belong to you; they are rooted in — and belong to — “him.” Everything that has come despite him and his abuse is yours. Celebrate and own them.

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    • Ned…this was so very thoughtful of you. It really moved me to tears. In recent weeks I’ve been told by several different people that the shame is not on me – that it is his alone. I’d never really thought of it in that sense. And I certainly never thought that everything I was able to accomplish in spite of it all should be celebrated as some immense achievement only that I was doing what I had to in order to keep sane and focused. However, I feel like I understand now. Or am beginning to. Thank you so much in helping with that. It really does mean a lot.

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      • You’re so very welcome, and I’m especially glad you’re beginning to recognize — and celebrate — your own achievements. You deserve to be celebrated, starting with yourself 😉

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