Yup, that’s right. I’m a simple girl. At least, I think so. I do admit that I love Kate Spade and Coach handbags and wouldn’t mind a sleek fast sports car. But at heart, all I need are old worn in jeans, a comfy hooded sweatshirt and my favorite boots.
As I was reflecting on what Independence Day is for the country now, picnics, parades, firework displays, I began to think of what this particular one means to me. 2015 has been a year filled with heartache and sorrow, but it followed 40 years of hurt and abuse. One perpetrator of that hurt and abuse was my ex-husband.
Before Andrew, I was married to a man I had gone to school with most of my life. Although I didn’t know him well, I knew of him. We were in different social circles. We began to date about a year after I graduated. He made me laugh, with that being my weak spot, I fell in love. Hard. He was protective and had a bad boy edge about him. Sadly, when he wasn’t making me laugh, he was making me cry. I was hooked though.
We were married at the age of 24. We began working with our church youth group as advisers. We had a great group of friends. He joined a Christian Band. We were busy with practices, shows, bible studies, youth events. Life was full and joyous, until he quit the band. He sank into a dark place.
He was angry at the band. He was angry with his parents. He was angry with his job. He was angry with our house. He was angry with the dog. He was angry with God. He was angry with me. I spent the better part of 13 years trying to play cheerleader. I tried to lift him up to a place that would allow him to see his blessings. I prayed over him while he slept. I cried and begged him to get help, to love again. He would shut down and not speak to me for weeks at a time. There was no affection. There was no kindness. Eventually, there was no respect from either of us. Through the constant verbal battering, I had been worn down to a useless shell of the person I had once been. I was exhausted, alone, depressed, and completely out of ideas.
Just as I thought my life couldn’t possibly suck any more, he asked for a divorce a few days before my 40th birthday. He was having an affair and wanted out. The wind was knocked out of me. I couldn’t breathe. I was shocked at this turn of events. I knew things were bad but I had no idea the choices he was making that were about to propel my life into a completely different direction. All of a sudden, my own life had become a car where the steering wheel was just spinning out of control and someone had their foot slamming down the gas pedal. But I could do nothing to stop it.
Remember, I’m a simple girl. I walked out of my house. I rented an apartment and settled into a 2 1/2 year dissolution of my marriage. It had some UGLY moments. I guess they all probably do at some point. The dissolution was final December 2014. We were getting along fairly well at this point. Our son was forcing us to, as his behavior was spiraling out of control.
In February 2015, everything changed. I was robbed, by my son and his friends. I was granted a restraining order against my only child. My best friend/boyfriend accidentally shot himself with a gun I bought for protection.
So as I was reflecting on Independence Day 2015, I realized that this year, I am definitely more independent than I was last year. I am officially single again. I am essentially no longer a mother. And I no longer have the man I love, instead I am mourning him. I work 2 jobs to pay for my life, I get no alimony. I build my own Ikea furniture. I pump my own gas. I kill my own spiders. Oh sure, I have male friends I can call if something comes up that I can’t handle, but I am learning I don’t want to call them. This silly, simple girl wants to do as many things on her own as she can. I have taken some pride in the fact that God has blessed me with the ability to survive. He alone, knew I was really going to need it. I don’t get to buy that Kate Spade or Coach handbag like I used to. But I do get to eat lunch with my friends after church. I don’t drive a fast zippy sports car but my 11 year old car is paid in full. I don’t get beach house vacations every summer, but I get to laugh with my friends, snuggle with babies, serve my community, love my family. And those are the moments that matter.
This simple girl has found her independence day.