I had brunch today with five women who were once my dearest friends in Junior High School and beyond. I haven't seen some of them for fifteen years or even longer. To sit at the table and hear their voices and look into their eyes was deeply satisfying. It was hard to hear anyone at one time because we were all talking and telling our stories and they're all more complex than we could express in the allotted time. So, we laughed and we laughed, and it was so easy to fall into our way, the way we were together so many years ago.
What is interesting to me is that I was probably the farthest flung of the group. They've actually seen each other in pairs and threesomes often over the last 25 years. But, I went away in large part. I saw two of the last about five years ago, but the rest of the group was lost to me.
They were not lost to each other. They have had life-long friendships, and I feel a little jealous. My time and focus was poured into my marriage so much that I've left friendships all over the country trying to save it, trying to save that marriage. That is one of the saddest cost of living with abuse for so long. I now can see that I was running, from home to home (remember I moved 20 times in 18 years), from friendship to friendship, hiding and uncomfortable about revealing too much of my real experience of being battered. It was not conscious. I didn't think, "Oh, I must leave this friendship, they're getting too close."
It was more like a creeping discomfort in my own skin...I felt like I was lying all the time to everyone I knew. I was projecting an aura of peace and contentment when behind closed doors I was dealing with anger and bitterness, with being grabbed and hit, and chased around the house by a mad man. How can anyone ever understand?
He was nice when people met him, maybe a little prickly, but no one who hadn't received his wrath before could have imagined how he behaved. Sigh. I don't know how I'll ever reconcile with those years exactly. They were not all terrible, but they were terrible enough. I feel like an idiot for having had so much faith in myself that I thought I could make him love me enough to love me.
It's been three years and a day since I told him I wanted a divorce. It was the most awful, heart-wrenching, painful moment of my life. It happened only after years of trying everything I knew to keep it from happening.
And, now, here I am. I have a man who loves me so much that he willingly supports my every choice, and finds me sexy attractive and loves me without me trying to do anything at all. And, I have this chance to reconnect with friends, some near and some far flung and reconcile the person they thought I was with reality. I have to believe this second chance is a true reflection...