It’s going on 2 months since our separation. There were times he would come visit the baby hungover. Sometimes he would come home in the middle of the night drunk, and then he would disappear again. Who was he with? What was he doing? How could he live like this? Doesn’t he know it’s a horrible example for the kids and most certainly hurtful to me…?
I can’t sleep at night because I keep thinking of how my husband isn’t the kind of husband, person, boss, worker, family member, father, and friend I think he should be. The thought bothers me so much I spend night after night ruminating on all the times he doesn’t do what he is supposed to do and all the times he makes bad choices or hurts me.
My original obsessive thoughts were, “What kind of father does he want to be? What kind of husband does he want to be? Is he happy living this way?” And then it hit me… Maybe he hasn’t given any thought to that. Maybe he IS happy living that way. Maybe it was me who was confused…
After several weeks of no sleep and reaching the point of physical and emotional burnout, it was only then that I finally realized something very painful… I was a hypocrite. I wasn’t even being the woman I thought I should be, the wife I should be, the mother I should be… Of course I could justify myself by saying, “well, his actions are horrible compared to mine…” But so what? Even if that were the case, that doesn’t change anything. It can’t change him and it hasn’t gotten me any closer to feeling better, happier, more confident, or more loved.
So I asked myself: What kind of mother do I want to be? What kind of friend do I want to be? What kind of wife do I want to be? What kind of employee do I want to be? I realized I don’t have the energy to be the person I want to be when I spend all my energy thinking about how he isn’t being who he should be and do what he should do, and when I ruminate on all the things he did that he shouldn’t have done, all my energy gets sucked away from me so forcefully and quickly that I can’t even begin to consider where to start on my own stuff.
Every single moment of every single day, I have the opportunity to be the exact person I want to be in that moment. When I am driving, I am Driver. When I am cooking dinner, I am Cooker. When I am walking my dogs, I am Dog Walker. When I am with my children, I am Mommy. When I am at work, I am Worker. If I can focus on being the best version of me in that moment I am whatever role I am, I will have fulfilled my purpose in that moment. I will have been the best and perfect person I can be. When my energy is spent on that moment, I have no energy for anything else, and my energy and time will have been spent well. It will have been a very successful day.
Sometimes we are in situations in which we cannot easily identify “who we are” in that moment. For example, last night my husband (although we are still separate) took us to a friend’s barbecue. At first it was hard to enjoy myself as I didn’t know anyone and couldn’t understand anything (everyone spoke Spanish). My mind started going to a negative place, and I almost found myself criticizing my husband for bringing us there and leaving us to fend for ourselves… To make matters worse, the host of the party was one of my husband’s “friends” that has on several occasions lied to me about my husband and her “dealings.” I was starting to feel a strong sensation of anger coming on and began contemplating all the things I wanted to tell her to realize how wrong she was to lie to me. The night could have been a complete disaster! Trying to stay focused on “who I am”, I didn’t know if I should be “Mommy” and focus on the children (at the risk of isolating myself from the group), or “Wife” and pretend that my marriage was wonderful when it obviously was not… All I knew was that I didn’t want to be “resentful, angry, and revenge-seeking.” And then I realized who I was: I was Guest! It was easy then to be a great guest! I made sure I enjoyed myself in whatever way I felt I needed to. I was the guest, and I did a great job of being a guest. And then, as a guest, I left when I was done being a guest. As I was playing the role of Guest, I was also able to successfully pull off being Mommy and Wife flawlessly and without effort. It was simple. In the end, I was able to be exactly who I wanted to be, how I wanted to be, and the night ended well. No regrets.
In each moment, in the role I am playing I can be fully present and engaged, and it is by playing my role fully that I am able to be in that moment and give all of myself in that moment. It is then, and only then, that I am able to be the best I can be.
Not perfect, but perfectly me.
I’d like to think I know what people should be doing and how they should be behaving, but when it doesn’t happen the result is complete sadness and disappointment. Interestingly, the only one walking away butt-hurt is myself. But when I think of who I want to be and what I should be doing, every moment is an empowering choice to be exactly who I want to be and live according to how I believe I should live. The ironic thing is that when I am living the way I think I should be, and doing what I think I should, nothing else seems to matter.