Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't go changin'..

You may have noticed that I have been slightly bitter lately. It's true. Even more so if you replace "slightly" with "extremely". There are many reasons for this. One thing in particular that keeps me in a state of bitterness, is my constant reflection on my failed marriage. You may have noticed this ongoing theme in my posts. If you haven't noticed, you should really start paying attention. If I wasn't me I would tell myself to STOP OBSESSING for crying out loud. But I am me and that's what I do.

I think what bothers me the most, other than knowing how fast my Ex moved on to someone else, is that I feel like a giant failure. And not just now, after the fact, but during the entire course of my marriage. Whenever something went wrong I always blamed myself(eventually) and, for the most part, I blamed myself for the marriage's eventual demise. I say "blamed" because I'm sort of beginning to wonder if the whole thing was necessarily all my fault.

If you were to ask me if I had any faults I would say, "no, of course not" and then laugh hysterically while I handed you the laminated list I carry around in my purse. I've always been very aware of the fact that I have many faults. I generally alternate between trying to better myself and not giving a shit. It's a good system.

What I have come to realize, however, is that there is a HUGE difference between being consciously aware of your own faults and accepting them/trying to change, and having someone else constantly tell you how you could be a better person.

Very early on in our marriage, after one of our soon to be frequent fights, I remember sitting in our bedroom. I was on our bed and my husband was sitting on the floor giving me a "talk" on how I could be better. He is very religious and I am not at all religious and the lesson basically was that I should be more positive and loving and accepting and, if I were to do that, I would be happier and, in turn, so would he. I remember sitting there and making a list in my head of all the things I would do to improve.

That was basically how my marriage went. As the year went on, I did my best to be the person he wanted and, in the process I turned into a person that I didn't want to be. For everything that I did right, there would be something I would do wrong. And of course, every time I did something wrong I would get angry at myself which would result in me getting angry at everyone else and anger is WRONG and BAD and NEGATIVE. Do you see where I'm going with this? It was frustrating and exhausting and very emotionally debilitating. Every once in a while I would just get so frustrated that I would say FUCK IT and be the worst person I could possibly think of being. As you can imagine, that always went over well.

At the end, when the decision was finally made that neither of us were happy and we could no longer exert the immense effort it took to keep the marriage afloat, I asked him why, if he felt from the very beginning that I was the type of person that couldn't make him happy, did he even bother? He thought he could change me, he said. He thought he could make me into a better person. I guess I'm not the only one who failed.

The thing is, I do have a lot of bad qualities:
  • I'm loud
  • I gossip
  • I'm short tempered
  • I swear like a sailor
  • I drink
  • I judge
  • I'm extremely impatient
  • I often don't give people the benefit of the doubt
  • I'm negative
  • I'm short tempered...oh did I mention that already? SO WHAT?! SHUT UP!

But I also have some good ones:

  • I'm nice to people
  • I'm funny
  • I sponsor a World Vision Kid(and if that doesn't get me into heaven, nothing will)
  • I'm fun

And who cares if the second list is shorter. I'm working on it. By myself. At my own pace. And that's how it should be.

I've learned a lot of lessons from my failed marriage and the most important one is that I should be myself no matter what. And if people don't like it? Tough shit. And so what if it means that lately when I meet guys I try to be as raunchy as possible so, on the off chance we hit it off, they're not disappointed in the long run? I'll get over that. I hope. I'll be ready for a healthy relationship eventually. Maybe.

Until then I'm going to continue to be inwardly bitter and pretend it doesn't bother me when I see my Ex and his new girlfriend at the bar. And I'll continue to pretend that I don't wonder what she's like. And what qualities she has that make him happy. Because I would sure like to know what those qualities are.

And oh please don't get me wrong, I am truly glad that he is happy and I in no way want to be with him. At all. It's just hard you know? It's just hard to know that someone else exhibits all the fine qualities that I do not. And what a coincidence that she is right here in our city and he doesn't have to go back to Chile to find her. I'm so glad I was able to participate in their relationship by funding his trip here.

See? Bitterness is fun!


Anonymous said...

You forgot a few things on the plus column dearie, like being a loyal friend, being kind to animals, oh yeah, how about talented writer, able to stand up and face your fears all by yourself, and generous with your time and pocket book. Don't sell yourself short.... lots of people have failed marriages at least you are willing to accept responsiblility for your part in it.

Schmutzie said...

I've given you an award!

notquiteawake said...

Generous with my pocket book? I would never have guessed that would be something I would be known for. But seriously, thank you anonymous! I wish I knew who you were. Because apparently you owe me money.

notquiteawake said...

And thank you Schmutzie! Awards from you totally make my day!

erin said...

I suspect he has his own list of faults!
However, being religious, he can probably just ask for forgiveness for them, so he doesn't need to carry around his laminated list.

This was such a good, honest, raw post! You are an amazing writer. You are very, very loveable, which is why your blog is so addicting.

Jodi - 35 and single (sigh) said...

I totally agree with anonymous - you're very loyal, a terrific friend, you do what you can for others when you can, you'll join just about any team/sport you can and show up even when you're exhausted, you're smart, hardworking,funny, fun, terrific to your family and I'm really glad to call you my friend!

Remember, he thought he could change you. She might not have it all either. Maybe he's looking for someone else he can change/save.

notquiteawake said...

You guys are so awesome. Really. I couldn't ask for better friends!

Anonymous said...

Jamie, it's Heather. I'd like to add a few more things to your positive qualities list. You are:

- a kickass roommate
- a damn good listener
- a BS-free, no-holds-barred, what-you-see-is-what-you-get, REAL person
- someone with way more patience, guts, strength, and character than you give yourself credit for
- the source of my new "Counting Sheep" addiction
- effin hilarious!

I miss you!

tee said...

I can't agree enough with what everyone here has said, I think you are an amazing person. I'm a better person for having known you! You don't need to be changed kid, you're fantastic just the way you are and you're only getting better. This is a rough patch but you'll be stronger when you come out the other side.

SUEB0B said...

Hey, I got here by way of Schmutzie and I am amazed because we had the same ex-relationship! He was always trying to fix me. He did his best to convince me how screwed up I was. (It was kind of a wonder that I was the HAPPY one in the relationship while he was a miserable bastard...) I had to stick with it for 4 years though, because I was financially dependent on him while I was in school. Email me. I think we have a lot to talk about!

Terri said...

Wow, I'm totally late to this party, but I have to say ditto to everything that was said here! I wouldn't trade you for the world!!