Months ago I was like the struggling plant bought on a whim and then set aside in a dark corner of the house and only occasionally watered. I was weak, parched and leaned toward the sunlight as far as I could trying to survive. What little goodness I got I soaked up right away waiting and hoping for more where that came from. But now I’m growing by leaps and bounds. Let me give you an example.
Last night my son had his last two summer water polo games. There was a thunderstorm in the area and I was sure it would be canceled which was confirmed by the coach. But then the coach called back and said change of plans, the game will be played afterall because the storm was heading in a different direction. My son was with my ex so they started heading for the pool and I jumped in my car, knowing I would be late. It turns out I got there right after my son made a goal.
My daughter did not want to go so it was just me and him sitting in the stands cheering our son on. And a few things went through my mind. First, I was always somewhat bothered by my ex’s inability to have a good time. Part of that is cheering. It’s like he’s incapable. Instead, he makes fun of people who do get “into it”. Which is me. I don’t care, never have. I yell and scream and jump up and down anyway. Half the time I have no idea why a certain call was made all I know is the ball should get into the goal. So cheer I do. But it struck me last night for the first time how utterly shy he is. A couple of times he yelled out, “Go for it!” but it was clear he felt uncomfortable doing so. He knows practically nothing about the sport either and I could see the hesitation. And I kind of took pity on him. He whistled instead from then on out. I KNOW he enjoyed the game but you’d never know it by his mannerisms.
Secondly, I realized how ultra-nice he is to a fault. I have no idea why but it’s compulsive politeness. He can’t be rude. It’s just not in his nature. I got there looking like I had been rushing. He asked me if I ate yet and I said no and I’m hungry, not knowing he had food. So he offered me his food before he even ate it. I tried turning it down but it was a Chipotle chicken bowl and I was starved. He said it was more than enough for him and to eat what I wanted and then he would eat. This is my ex. Super nice. Then came the drink and the chips and as I was eating he ran out to his car to get a blanket because the cement bleachers were uncomfortable. He spread it out for the two of us and we sat and laughed and ate dinner. He thanked me for the wallet “the kids” got him for Father’s Day and said how much he liked it. He showed me a picture of his new dog. He noticed a mark on my hand and we talked about if it was a bruise or a burn. He mentioned that my hair looked nice (I had just gotten it done that day). He told me I had dog hair all over my butt, I told him I didn’t care. It wasn’t that he was flirting because he wasn’t. He was just being friendly and attentive and himself. If I could block out the last three years it was as if nothing ever happened. He would be acting the same way, saying the same things.
What was different was me. None of it mattered to me. He was like an old girlfriend I hadn’t seen in a few months and we were hanging. There was not one yearning glance wishing he would not have been such a jerk. There was not one feeling of attraction whatsoever. I now have my head wrapped around the fact that just because he is super nice, does not mean he is genuine. I know that he is not. I know that you cannot be a nice guy and leave your family in the dust. I know that nice does not make what he did okay.
My therapist once said that he is nice because it gets him what he needs and wants which is no conflict and a happy easy time. He doesn’t do it to “be mean” but when you expect that it means more than that…it IS mean. I’ve transcended that scenario now. And that is cause for a deep breath and a smile.
I can just be his friend and feel nothing. And in a way I feel grateful. Which seems really strange to say out loud. But if he had not left me I would not be blossoming into a confident and comfortable-in-my-skin person who was challenged to the point of breaking and survived. I have lost 20 lbs, I run twice a week (should be more but there you go), I feel like I look good for my age, I eat pretty good, I’m sleeping better, I have a good strong close relationship with my kids, a good job, a great home and the love of a good man. And the love of the Lord. What more could I want? I’m blessed.
Being alone is not my favorite thing. But I’m learning that it’s not the worst thing in the world either. When he lived here I felt my very life was being sucked out of me. I was trying so hard to be what he wanted. After he left I felt despair. But now there is healing. And I have more than enough sunlight, water, and that person saying nice things in my ear to make me perk up too! And I’m thriving. Now I’m the Miracle Grow plant that is twice the size of it’s counterpart with blooms all over it. Grateful to the Lord for seeing me through. Grateful that I do not have the root of bitterness. Hopefully I will bear fruit as I continue to grow, I will be able to provide shade for someone else parched by the sun. I will be able to give back with a grateful heart.