As the rainy days drag by, and I still haven't received the money that my ex-husband owes me, I have begun to ponder all of the things that I've lost since the divorce was finalized.
He showed up at the courthouse, smelling like booze. It was 11 am. The week before I had received countless text messages saying that for what it was worth, he'd quit drinking and felt great. Until the bitter end, he proved himself to be a lying sack of shit.
We signed the papers and he complained loudly about how he'd parked in 30 minute parking and didn't want to get a ticket. He also refused to split the legal costs with me, knowing that if I backed down he could leech even more of my fucking money. It was the best $300 I have ever spent. "You don't need to put the debt in the papers, I'll set up a payment plan for you." And in a grand summation of our relationship, I decided to believe this final lie. With a heavy sigh, I realize now that I spent our four years together as a naive dumbshit.
Aside from the huge chunk of cash I'll never get back, the one thing that will always haunt me is my dog, Mace. The day I decided to leave Jeremy I had to turn my brain off. On the phone with my Dad's girlfriend, she told me everything I needed to do because I was incapable of functioning on my own. "Find a bag. Start putting your clothes in it. Do you have any jewelry? Put that in there too." After I'd packed a few bags full of my puppy's toys and my clothes, he wrenched my keys from my hand, took my dog, locked me out of the house, and stole my car.
I had to say goodbye to my home on the coast that I had created, loved, and nurtured for a year. I had just gotten a chicken brooder and had three baby chicks in our basement. I received a frantic call from my old landlord a few months later saying the chickens were being neglected and she had decided to remove them from the property. I left my favorite house I'd ever lived in, with the enormous kitchen and gas burning stove. I'd return later that summer and I found over 300 beer bottles in the dining room, which was no longer inhabitable. I had just purchased 10 pots and little veggie starts that were flourishing near the large tree in front of our house. I later found the tree partially burned down because he had gotten drunk and left the grill on underneath it.
I think the reason Mace weighs so heavily on my heart is that a year before I met him, he abandoned a dog. In an apartment he had been evicted from. He left her there to starve. What kind of human does this to an animal? His way of clearing his conscious was to tattoo her name on his knuckles. So noble. And I had to leave my baby with him. My pup horrifically lost a toe nail one morning, bleeding everywhere, and my ex literally locked himself in our bedroom and wouldn't come out. I begged him to help me carry my poor, sweet 75 pound boy to the car, but he refused to leave the room. Once the vet tech trimmed his toenails too short and he cried all night. My ex sat up in bed and punched him as hard as he could. It will haunt me the rest of me life.
I lost everything the day I left him. I was the one who bought every single piece of furniture, artwork, kitchen utensil, tool... literally everything. I abandoned my chickens, my dog, my plants, my home, my job, my life. It did not feel good. It felt like 95% of who I was had just died.
He did horrible, atrocious, despicable things to me. Somehow managing to brainwash and bully me into staying with him. I hope the day I left him was the worst day of his life. Although it was one of the worst of mine, it was ripping off a band aid. I hope his was like pulling out a drain plug.
At the time I thought the hardest things to leave behind were the tangible ones: my dog, my money, chickens, home, big screen TV, etc... but in reality the worst things I lost were the ones I didn't realize I had been missing the whole time. Those parts of your soul that had been hit by a shotgun; small holes you don't realize are there yet riddle your heart like Swiss cheese.
I never had a partner. I was married to a man who told me with alarming frequency that my life was a joke.
Throughout my marriage, my self confidence gradually ebbed away. Every day he would chip it down more. I can't remember once when he told me I was pretty. I can however, count the amount of times I caught him texting women asking for pictures of their tits. Perhaps that's why I've never felt good enough. Or maybe because of all the times he told me that "I deserved it"... for knocking me out when I was drunk because I was "being rude".
I didn't realize how lonely I was. Never have I been more scared in my life, but I didn't know why. Every shred of self confidence, self worth, direction, dignity, and self respect was long gone. My goal every day was to try to make this horrible man happy, who, I'm fairly positive, is incapable of being so. I lost my will to live. I lost my family. I lost my friends. I lost all of this because of him.
But you know the most important things I lost in the divorce?
I lost him.
I lost the person who used to threaten me. Who would tell me he was going to kill himself if I ever left him. I lost my captor, my abuser, my nemesis, my concrete shoes.
During my marriage I lost myself. In my divorce I regained my freedom.
It's taken a while but after a year or so, I've started to remember who the fuck I am. I'm shaking the brain wash off like a dog out of a river. While I still carry a very unhealthy fear of men, I do have a semblance of self confidence. He spent years breaking me. And now, it's all coming back. I'm a funny, fucking delightful person.
I hit rock bottom in Toledo, Oregon. When I hit the rocky bottom of that lake, I waited for a minute and blinked my eyes in the blurry water. It took me a minute or two, but when my eyes adjusted I kicked off the ground and raised my hands for the surface.
I don't give a fuck about him anymore. And he is the best thing I've ever lost.