Giving Up

Ah…

The season of Lent is upon us.  A time when people give up something they can live without for 40 days.  While I’m not overly religious (or even religious at all) I try, each year, to give up something in order to test my willpower and hopefully make me a better person.  Or at least, a semblance of a better person that one can become in 40 days.

The idea behind giving something up is that it is something that, in some way, negatively affects us.  Some people give up chocolate or caffeine, time spent on facebook, television, sugar, etc.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted to give up this year…and finally landed on the obvious…wine (any alcohol really).  I know, I know, I’ve said it before.  But I really do think I’m going to make it this time.  I’m trying to get back into running, trying to eat healthier, and trying to save money…all things that are very much affected by wine drinking.  I know it will be hard (it’s day one and I’m already dying after Kindergarten Valentine’s Day Party insanity), but the hard things are usually the most important.

But will I become a better person simply by giving up alcohol?  In that respect, I’m not so sure.  For the first week or two I’m probably going to be more grumpy to be honest, but that’s probably it.  So I feel like I need something else.  Something that will really help me become a better “me”: a better mother, a better teacher, a better girlfriend.  Something that will make me happier.  Something that will make me more whole.

So I have decided each day during lent I’m going to give up something that I feel is holding me back or holding me down.  Something that is toxic or negatively affecting my sense of self.  Something I may be too scared to face, or think, or do.  I’ll try to write about it as much as I can (which will also help me accomplish my goal of writing more) but life happens and I know I can’t make any promises.

Day #1: Giving up the guilt over my relationship.

Joe and I have been dating for almost a year and a half now and not a day goes by when I don’t feel the guilt over how our relationship started or how my marriage ended.  Those that I am close with (and have remained close with) know the whole story, but I know many people only know bits and pieces that they may have heard from me or from another source, or simply through the grape vine.

My marriage had been rocky for awhile.  And by that I mean about 5-6 years.  Things would occasionally get better and then get worse again.  He was mean and controlling, or passive and lazy (we worked in extremes), and I spent a lot of time wanting to leave and not knowing how.  I felt bad about leaving him with nothing, I had no idea where to go, and so many other excuses I continued to make over and over again.

While we had known each other for a few years, Joe and I became friends at the downward slope in both of our marriages.  And as we became closer, we realized how much we had in common and how much enjoyed each other’s company.  Then we fell in love.  Plain and simple.  It wasn’t planned.  We didn’t set out to do it.  And we sure as hell didn’t set out to hurt anyone else.  I’m sure if you listen to the other side of the story, thats the way it would sound.  That certain people were complete innocent and I was the vindictive one.  I know that’s not the case, and honestly, so does she.  I could say more, but I won’t.  It’s not my style.  And that’s not what this post is about.

While I know the timeline wasn’t the best, and there are things I could have done better, I don’t regret it.  I’m happy. Happier than I’ve even been.  And Joe’s happy.  And my kids are happy.  Though he won’t admit it, I think Mike’s happy too.  And so is Joe’s ex.  While we all felt horrible while going through the fire, now that the flames are out and we can finally breathe, things are looking so much better for everyone.

So, I’m going to stop feeling guilty.  I’m going to forgive myself. I’m going to enjoy my relationship and i’m going to let it continue to change me for the better.

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