People say when they come back from war that a mere sharp sound can trigger a flashback. I know what these people are going through is worse than anything I’ve ever had to deal with, but I can’t help to think that getting over emotional betrayal is similar in how the pain sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Last night my daughter chose to watch Jane Eyre. I really didn’t know what it was about. I had a log on the fire so I was in the family room trying to soak up some heat while I worked on rewriting a résumé for a friend. But the story kept sucking me in.
I look up to see a beautiful meadow with trees and an old stone building. I tell my daughter how it really is that pretty. And I am instantly sad.
It was the scene when Mr Rochester declares his love for Jane asking her to marry him that I lost it. I left the room as fast as I could in tears and literal flashbacks of me sitting on that same couch and Martin looking up at me with a fake ring in his hand telling me he would do anything for me and asking me to marry him. That memory assaulted me. I practically ran up the stairs heaving big breaths trying to stop the tears and the pictures in my head. Jane Eyre looking at herself in the mirror and calling herself a fool. Martin looking at me as I walked away from him at the airport the last time I will ever see him. Me sat on the couch after reading an email from one of his family members letting me know he was still married and living at home.
With each step up the stairs I sucked in as much air as I could to stop moans of sadness so the kids wouldn’t be worried about me. I found myself in my bathroom with large mirrors on three walls looking at myself cry from all different angles and thinking that I looked old. The familiar doubts crashed in for less than a minute. You are used goods, no one is going to ever want you for real.
Crash, crash, continued the assault on my heart and brain until finally I got ahold of my breath and stopped the heaving. I wiped my eyes and noticed the three little pimples on the left side of my face. I stood there looking at my hair undone, my face without even mascara and I told myself I am ok. I will be ok. There is much to be thankful for.
And as soon as it hit me it left me. I did not go back in to see the end of the movie but walked downstairs long enough to see a wedding scene where someone comes in to stop the wedding because Mr Rochester is already married. A loveless marriage with a mad woman. Really? I pour the water into my glass and march back upstairs.
I don’t care that Jane truly loved Mr. Rochester and that he was stuck and tricked and made bad choices that left him in a huge mess. Jane didn’t sit around and accept a morally compromised life with him. She left him and made her own way in life. I swear I think Jane Eyre is my new hero.
I cannot and will not accept what he has offered for my life. I can’t no matter how much I love him. I have to make my own way. Scary as it may be I am confident I can do it.
These flashbacks will subside. I know they will. I just have to stay strong, stay on the path, somehow get through the holidays alone, and come January I will be okay. Stronger. I know it.
At the point where I left it…Jane Eyre shows that truly loving someone and true love in and of itself does not mean that you have to be weak and stupid. It can be honorable and you can make good choices for yourself within the madness of it. And the people we love should not ever ask of us anything more.